For organizations to insert creativity, intuition, a future orientation, and new perspectives into its strategic planning process, strategic thinking is required. It is the type of thinking that attempts to determine what an organization should look like in the future. Strategic thinkers ask questions such as: “What are we doing now that we should stop doing?” “What are we not doing now, but should start doing?” “What are we doing now that we should continue to do but perhaps in a fundamentally different way?” The focus is to find and develop opportunities to create value by fostering a provocative and creative dialogue that creates momentum in steering an organization towards success.
To encourage this type of thinking, organizations can utilize the following strategies:
- Gather input from the entire organization and include new voices (younger employees, new employees, and others outside of senior leadership) into the strategy conversation
- Create new conversations about strategy by involving diverse perspectives across the organization
- Develop new viewpoints about the organization, its businesses, its competitors, and its customers to help expose new opportunities
- Encourage small-scale trials into new markets and businesses to gain insights and learning about which strategies might work or might not work
- Cultivate buy-in from those involved in the change process by igniting/rekindling their desire to grow professionally, share in the rewards of success, and have a role in creating a unique and positive future
Strategic thinking will help reinvigorate conventional strategic planning to encourage innovation and the development of strategic plans that create value and enables organizations to proactively address the needs of the organization and the changes in the market.