The Art of Strategic Thinking
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Growing Up - Expansion and Acquisitions - By Geoff Flemming
Primarily companies who are really good at what they do, spend most of their time doing exactly that! Doing what they do best. So in a thriving market when opportunities abound and when the 'lights' of new opportunities keep coming,we don't often have [or allocate] time to plan for much else other then the here and now.
Planning for new ideas,acquisitions,or new markets seems like a good idea but will often take a back seat when the orders are plentiful and phone keeps ringing.
So what happened 6 months ago? Whenfor many companies the lights stopped coming, the phone stopped, and the fax went quiet?There was a voidwhich was filled with 'wonderingwhy', 'praying for rain', 'battening down the hatches', and in some cases taking evasive action!
So strategic thinking is about looking at the now, comparing it with the past, thinking about the future, and consideringall aspects ofthe plan for your succession as well as that of your team.
Everything that we doneeds a game plan! As theexpression goes 'whenyou are up to your elbows incrocodiles it is hard to remember that the original objective was to drain the swamp!'When in the thick of the actionit isvital to have our sights on clear outcomes andour game plan.
Many businesses have few meetings as they find them dull and lifeless - and they blame the meeting! Organisations that are growing quickly meet regularly run highly engaging meetings that add significant value to their communication processes, and regularly deliver results.
So the fundamental elements of good strategic planning are:
Defining strategytakes a different way ofthinking - As Einstein said"Problems cannot be resolved by the same level of thinking that created them". Different ways of thinking often require different environments as well awhole newperspective. Also strategic questionsusually start with 'why' and often have no easy answers. The process offinding answerscauses you to think strategically.
Planning should involve everyone - In a new age we see that young people are engaged in environments where they are involvedand constantly communicated with. This is true in every area of business, sport, and life. The more we share and involve everyone the more they will step up and take ownership.
Good planningoften requires facilitation -Unless you a really good at getting your team to 'think outside the square', a good coach or facilitatorcan assist. Your facilitatorwill help you tomaximise the planning sessionby ensuring that you are thinkingwith clarity, will keep the conversation relevant and on track, ensure thatopportunities are fully explored,that everyone is actively participating, and that you have a clear action plan with accountabilitiesas a result of the session
Effective planning requires structure - The essence of great planning is alignment! When the teamis all on the same page you can harness the power of collective intelligence and get 'buy in' to any future plan. Without 'buy in' people will never fully commit and results will neverbe optimal.Ensure the structure includes time for alignment, good news,issues and opportunities, followed by commitment and 'buy in' to outcomes.
Great planning requires conflict -Choose conflict over consensus. Whilst consensus will create harmony it rarely allows people to truly engage. Conflict comes from a spirited debate about what is important. The end result isalignmentaroundwhat the team believe is the best possible solution.
Planning takes time -Tactical, everyday issues takes little time to deal with as they are 'known' and familiar. But dealing with the minutia just gets us by and does not move the business forward. Strategic planning often deals with theunknown.Innovating andcreating new ideas takes the time that it takes- and you need to take the time!
Great planning requires leadershipand inspiration -Greatstrategic planning is an autocratic / democratic process! Whist it involves all parties - it has to be driven.Anyone who has been involved in committees knows that they specialise in getting little done over extended periods of time. Leadership and passion is required to drive the process, keep people and the conversation on track, and ensure that the best possible outcome is achieved.
Great planning is done by great people - In order to maximise the plan ensure that you have a room full of players! Those willing to collaborate and create collective intelligence. Players are those who have heart and spirit for the vision of the vision, and who are willing to make a difference.
The most important aspect of effective strategic planning is execution. A well thought out strategy that has complete buy-in from the team and is well executed creates significant energy and momentum.
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Growing Up - Expansion and Acquisitions - By Geoff Flemming
About the Author: Geoff Flemming
RSS for Geoff's articles - Visit Geoff's website
Geoff Flemming is the Director of Business Transformations, a well established coaching and consulting firm based in Victoria. Apart from Geoff's track record in senior management working with a range of Australian corporations, Geoff has been in the coaching field for 11 years. He has developed and delivered a range of leadership and behavioural change programs nationally through a range of industries. His specialty is in developing emerging leaders and working with fast growth organisations. Geoff has designed and successfully delivered leadership and executive coaching development programs through service industries such as retail security and salons, through to pharmacy groups and a number of franchise organisations. The primary outcome in organisations that have been through Geoff's programs is in the creation of a culture of leadership and high performance. That is teams of people who are aligned, communicate well, keep each other accountable and are intrinsically motivated to achieve the best possible result.
Geoff also runs Crucial Conversations Australia / New Zealand. This organisation is part of SevenSeventeen, the licensee for VitalSmarts products in Australia and New Zealand. Crucial Conversations now runs under license in more than 40 countries around. It is the consumate program for people in all walks of life to teach how to have tought conversations - and have them go well! http://www.crucialconversations.com.au
Click here to visit Geoff's website.
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