Business Process Consulting - Four Keys to Thinking Strategically
by Peter McLean
Thinking strategically is critical to our success. In the first instance, we must develop this mindset ourselves, as an integral part of our own leadership skill development. Then, through our mentoring staff development approach, help the people around us understand what this means for them and their roles in our business.
Fortunately, thinking strategically is a skill that can be learned and taught. There is a great deal written about strategy, and so a clarification of what we mean when we use the term is in order. Strategy is simply the framework of choices we make that will determine our future. It is the vision we hold for our business, in action.
To develop this strategic mindset in our business, we must know four extremely important things and be continually learning as much as we can about them.
Know the Nature of Our Business and the Direction We Want It to Take
Having a clear focus about where we want to be in the future comes from being clear about where we stand now. Knowing what we believe, what we are passionate about and what our assumptions are will determine the future that we create for ourselves and our business.
This knowledge is enhanced by our ongoing experience. The stories that we tell ourselves that ring true for us inform, reinforce and remind us what we are in business for and for whom.
Successful business people are also successful people, in general. They know what their purpose in life is, and they live it. They talk about it all the time. They think about it every waking moment. They create the meaning, and it colors everything that they say and do. Possessing this mindset is one of the highly valued qualities of good leadership.
They create a business that is based on a solid foundation, one that they have built into their own lives with the people around them. In the business setting, this is transferred to all the people in it and to their customers.
Strategic thought is an authentic expression of the drive and direction that the business must take, given its sense of Mission, Vision and the Values it holds.
These are not mere platitudes; rather they are the very laws by which the business operates in its environment.
Know Where Our Business Sits in the Environment
The factors that determine where we sit in the environment with our business must be known and understood thoroughly. These factors are dynamic, and the rate of change in and around them in regard to our business must be managed well.
How quickly the environment is changing and how we are adapting to it are the critical things to know. To know these things, we must always be learning and developing ourselves and the people around us. Understanding our business know-how, the shelf life of our products and services, and what our customers are looking to us for are just a few of the items we must understand fully. How quickly we can adapt and move in relation to these factors is critical to our success.
Know Our Capacities and Play to Our Strengths
IN our business, we cannot be all things to all people. We must know what we excel at, and play to those strengths at the strategic level.
A high performing, champion athlete focuses on his or her strengths and trains and prepares for that one thing that they know so well. So it is in life and in business.
Getting clear about your strengths as a business by knowing what you do really well and pursuing that one thing relentlessly at the big picture level is crucial.
Being single minded will prevent you from wasting your time and effort on other pursuits that will only side track you, bog you down and ultimately prevent you from achieving success and excellence.
All operational activities in your business must be conducted and integrated into your strategic mindset and framework.
Know What to Do to Get Where You Want To Be
Having a clear focus in our business, knowing where we sit in our environment and playing to our strengths requires disciplined thought and action.
The only way to ensure success strategically is to make smart and effective decisions. All of our strategic decisions must be constrained by and founded in the elements spelled out above.
Knowing what to do, given what we know, is an imperative for success.
This means that we must have a clearly understood way of making the hard decision. Such decisions must be in keeping with the nature and direction of the business, its environment and its capacity.
Such decisions must be visible, traceable, conscious, in keeping with our belief system, and must be a shared process in the organization.
Once we have decided what to do, we must then do it. This action completes the first turn of the never ending cycle of learning and developing our strategic mindset.
Peter McLean is a highly experienced Coach, Senior Manager, Consultant, Business Owner and Company Director. He successfully coaches top Executives in some of Australia’s leading multi-national companies. One such Senior Executive recently won an International Award for Excellence within his particular field. In addition, Peter works extensively in the Public, Private, Commercial and Not-for-Profit sectors, delivering outstanding results for his clients. To learn more of how you can benefit from Peter’s experience, visit the Essential Business Coach web site!