Drive Your Vision or Amlessly Drift
In today’s world, driving your business vision is the only way to ensure you stay focused on where you want to go and not pulled by short-term fads and fashions.
Strategic thinking is more vital today for leaders of organisation than ever before. The need for organisations of any shape and size to be able to determine why they exist and where they intend to exist in their market has never ben stronger. Whether it is new players finding their first footing in their market, through to established players redefining where they are within their sector, the need for leaders to define their vision and validate their strategy to achieve that vision has become more critical than ever. The drivers of urgency are not just those of ever more powerful stakeholder expectation, but more demonstrably the globalisation of every market sector and the transparency of strategy in what it delivers to business.
Problems with Strategic Thinking
The key element of strategic thinking is the ability of leadership teams to look at what is driving change within any sector. Inspiring vision is about drawing intelligence from scratchy, vague or even 'invisible' data to make informed decisions about tomorrow's market and develop an aspirational strategy to achieve that vision.
Planning for Tomorrow
- It will happen whether we like it or not.
- Markets are always changing, new opportunities are always arising.
- If organisations strategically plan ahead they can successfully compete, rather than just survive by being a me too player.
- Strategic thinking has to be achieved and implemented faster than a market is developing if players wish to stay or move into more profitable, growing and sustainable market segments.
- Without strategic thinking every organisation will go backwards in its market.
The Strategy Gap
As a result, strategic planning often focused on predicting the future based on historic trend lines, over-invest in gathering all available data, and produced a small number of safe directives often focused around the very near future, for the rest of the organization to execute.
This has left the traditional strategic planning process with a fundamental problem, since the trusted, traditional and slow approach to strategic planning is based on assumptions that no longer hold. The static strategic plan is dead.
So why do strategy at all?Strategy is therefore under pressure as a process unlike never before. If the outputs from traditional strategy, a traditional business plan with incremental evolution are no longer valued, then the value of strategy is being rightly questioned.
The reason why strategy is not dead is that the strategic process, the way strategy is developed is essential in learning what is ‘right’, what is the future in a business sector. This strategic approach to step out of your organisation and look at the market, defining internal aspirations and building the steps through experimental activity and forward pattern development enables shift culture to occur enabling agile strategy to be deployed.
There are many renaming ceremonies for today's strategy process, all focusing on the move to redefine the strategic planning process, away from the traditional top-down long-term evolutionary strategic planning process to quicker, dynamic and responsive strategic thinking culture. This systematic and seismic shift in thinking away from process driven top down command and control process to one of continual strategic thinking culture.
To make this shift to modern strategic thinking, leaders need to move away from traditional predictive planning to rapid prototyping supported by multifaceted experimenting.
The second shift is that of 'frontline first' where leaders must enable the frontline with real decision-making authority. Successful strategic thinking requires objective and direction setting with a whole team focus. Instead of a plan, the planning process is about whole team involvement in the mindset of goal achievement.
The third and final major shift leaders need to focus on where the organisation is adding value to customers. As markets and customers rapidly change, who would have thought Google, the online search engine would be producing driverless cars, or Apple the IT company is managing middle-class health.
What value any organisation customers value and are looking for is one of the major shifts which today's digital age is driving.