Applied Strategic Thinking® and Strategic Leadership Frequently Asked Questions

What is Applied Strategic Thinking®?

A: Applied Strategic Thinking® is a leader’s or individual contributor’s ability to identify how they can become a strategic force in their own work. They do this by identifying strategies that leverage their strengths in unique ways that ignite positive change and contribute competitive advantage and value. A strategic thinker continually assesses and then adapts to their changing environment. They exploit opportunities, manage risks, and find innovative ways to maximize their personal contribution to the business. They apply strategic thought

in practical ways that help them prepare for tomorrow’s opportunities today.

What is the Applied Strategic Thinking® Workshop?

A: Strategic Leadership focuses on leaders of business units, departments, or functions who need to create strategies for their part of the business that align with and support the achievement of the organization’s overarching strategy. These strategic leaders must develop the ability to cascade a clearly defined strategy down through the organization and lead their team or function in the execution of that strategy. A strategic leader is also responsible for helping individuals think and act strategically within their own roles and responsibilities.

What is the Strategic Leadership Workshop?

A: Strategic leaders in the middle and upper levels of management need to have the ability to create strategic direction for their part of the business. We coined the phrase “Managing the Business Within the Business™” to describe the strategic responsibilities that a leader has at this level of the organization. Each manager inside the organization is responsible for running a small enterprise, and these leaders each have stewardship over a significant bundle of resources and capabilities as well as a duty to ensure that those resources are used to support the overarching direction of the firm. The Strategic Leadership workshop is geared towards these mid- and higher-level leaders who are responsible for creating strategic direction and ensuring that their function can adapt and evolve to meet the needs of a shifting business environment.

What are the primary goals and objectives of the Applied Strategic Thinking® Workshop?

A: The primary goals and objectives of the Applied Strategic Thinking® workshop are to teach participants how everyone can play an important role in an organization’s strategic process and that everyone can create strategy for their area of responsibility. Participants learn practical, actionable skills that help them formulate strategy for themselves, their function, shift resources, and create energy for long-term strategic priorities and projects.

What are the primary goals and objectives of the Strategic Leadership Workshop?

A: The primary goals and objectives of the Strategic Leadership workshop are to teach participants how to incorporate business-strategy skills into their function and develop strategic priorities that will contribute competitive advantage to the organization. Leaders will learn how to identify and leverage strategic innovations and competitive advantages, in addition to learning how to create strategic measures of effectiveness to track their progress.

What is the difference between Applied Strategic Thinking™ and Strategic Leadership?

A: The fundamental difference between Applied Strategic Thinking™ and Strategic Leadership lies in the role a person fills in his or her organization and the way in which strategy is incorporated into the job. The following points highlight a few other key distinctions. Applied Strategic Thinking™ is the ability to anticipate and begin exploiting tomorrow’s opportunities today. Individual contributors and leaders learn how to think and achieve success tomorrow as well as today. As part of an internal economy, they have to understand there is a market for their services with real customers (both internal and external) who have problems that need to be solved and jobs that need to be done. Applied Strategic Thinking™ is based on the notion that everyone in the organization can develop the ability to think, act, and contribute more over the long run by discovering a personal “Strategic-contribution concept” that will help them add unique value and be more proactive in all aspects of their responsibilities. They need to think and plan ahead for the innovative “next practices” that will solve any problems on the horizon and create lasting value. Strategic Leadership, on the other hand, is for middle- and upper-level leaders who need to create strategic direction for a specific part of the organization. These are people with significant responsibilities and who fulfill higher-level leadership roles such as directors, department leaders, senior managers, general managers, and business-unit leaders. The people leading these functions have responsibility for proactivity and creatively shaping the future by developing strategy for their part of the organization that supports the overarching strategic direction of the firm. Strategic leaders have to take full advantage of opportunities and work through strategic problems that stand in the way of positive, long-term change for their areas of responsibility. At its core, strategic leadership is about helping every function or business activity be relevant and add value by delivering on a compelling value proposition that is focused on the organization’s long-term success.

What makes Applied Strategic Thinking® different from other leadership development programs?

A: The Applied Strategic Thinking® workshop is unique because there are no other strategy workshops on the market specifically designed to help leaders and individual contributors develop the ability to see the big picture, respond to changing conditions in their environment, and create their own strategies and plans that contribute to the long-term strategy of the business. Our strategy simulation, Journey for Jewels™, differentiates this workshop because participants learn these skills in an intensive, interactive, and collaborative simulation format that CMOE is well-known for. The entire Applied Strategic Thinking® workshop is built on adult learning principles and is highly experiential so that participants are consistently and purposefully engaged as they develop the ability to approach their work with increased foresight and a longer-term perspective. Our consultants and facilitators give participants individualized attention and help them discover how the concepts and skills introduced apply to their unique situations and areas of responsibility. Participants learn that strategy isn’t something that is only done by the CEO or senior leadership, but that everyone has to contribute competitive and breakthrough strategies in all areas of the business.

Does the Applied Strategic Thinking™ program include a model?

A: Yes. The learning concepts are based on The Applied Strategic Thinking® Model—a proven process that is backed by extensive and ongoing organization research. The Model is a skills-based process that provides participants with a memorable road map that can be used in the real world.

What makes Strategic Leadership different from other leadership-development programs?

A: CMOE’s Strategic Leadership workshop is distinctive because there are no other strategy workshops on the market like it: Our workshop is specifically designed to help leaders and managers strategically position each function, department, and person to align and support the organization’s overarching strategy. The strategies within the business will require ongoing development, review, and discussion about emerging transitions, transformations, and all-out reinventions in the organization’s services, operations, and processes, as well as in the mindsets of its people. Organizations will need to harvest strategic opportunities or navigate around the hazards that lie ahead in order to stay relevant and competitive in the future. Using cutting-edge adult-learning methods as well as our strategy simulation, Inroads to Riches™, participants learn these skills in the intensive, interactive, and collaborative workshop environment that CMOE is known for.The Strategic Leadership workshop supports individual leaders as they work to create their own unique, standalone strategies that parallel with the business’ overarching direction and provides a setting for that important work to begin. The entire workshop provides leaders and managers with the skills and tools they need to help them successfully capitalize on the forces and events that shape their world, allowing them to become the architects of the future within their areas of responsibility.

Does the Strategic Leadership program include a model?

A: Yes. The learning concepts are based on CMOE’s Strategic Leadership Model—a proven process that is backed by extensive and ongoing organizational research. The Model is a skills-based process that provides participants with a guide or template that can be used to facilitate the development of the strategy and the execution process. The workshop is based on our book, Strategy is Everyone’s Job.

What techniques are used to teach leaders or team members the necessary skills and how to use the model?

A: Applied Strategic Thinking® uses a simulation, presentations, discussions, case studies, and guided practice to teach and develop the strategic thinking skills of each participant. Participants spend 50 percent of the workshop focusing on developing strategic thinking abilities in areas where they can enhance their current skill level and building their own strategy using the Applied Strategic Thinking® Road Map. In addition, the workshop is built around other adult learning activities that initiate measurable behavior change and winning results.

Is Applied Strategic Thinking® customizable?

A: Yes. Applied Strategic Thinking® is designed to be customizable in order to maximize the participant’s learning experience. CMOE offers a superior capability to adapt and tailor this workshop to address your exact needs, culture, language, and common leadership and strategy issues. Our in-house design team consults with clients in a collaborative and creative way to meet their specific customization needs. Most team and leadership development companies do not offer this unique feature. We can also customize the content so it aligns with other content, leadership models, or strategic initiatives that you have, or we can incorporate it into a full training & development curriculum.

Is Strategic Leadership customizable?

A: Yes. Strategic Leadership is designed to be customizable in order to maximize the participants’ learning experience. CMOE offers a superior capability to adapt and tailor this workshop to address your exact needs, culture, language, and the leadership and strategy issues that are specific to your organization. Our in-house design team consults with clients in a collaborative and creative way to meet each organization’s specific customization needs. Most team and leadership-development companies do not offer this unique feature. We can also customize the content of the program so that it aligns with other content, leadership models, or strategic initiatives that your organization currently has in place, or we can integrate the Strategic Leadership course into a full training and development curriculum.

Does CMOE offer additional training that builds on strategic thinking or develops additional leadership skills?

A: CMOE offers a comprehensive library of training programs covering over 70 topics ranging from Strategic Leadership and Coaching to Communication and Collaboration.

How can the training be sustained?

A: CMOE offers post-workshop assessments and provides options for continued follow-up and ongoing learning through access to and application of new tools and skills. Our sustainability package includes resources like the Strategy Tip of the Day Videos, electronic versions of the Applied Strategic Thinking® Road Map, and other planning tools.

Does the program define desired strategic thinking behaviors?

A: The Model is based on research about the behaviors and practices of strategic thinkers and is also founded in classic strategy principles. Applied Strategic Thinking® includes a strong focus on “how-to’s” including describing and providing examples of specific strategic thinking behaviors.

Can the model be used by anyone, in any industry?

A: Applied Strategic Thinking® is a framework that can be used across a variety of applications and disciplines including senior leadership, mid-management, front-line management, team leaders, and individual producers. It is also applicable in all types of industries. Participants practice the skills by developing their own strategy during the program.

Does CMOE certify outside facilitators to teach this program?

A: Yes. CMOE offers three options for facilitators interested in certification for Applied Strategic Thinking®. Self-certification is recommended for seasoned facilitators able to self-prepare to deliver the program using the instructor’s kit. Virtual Certification includes additional training from a CMOE Master Trainer and includes learning about the research, methodology, course design, and other valuable insights from CMOE. In-person certification is available for those who prefer a more personal certification experience. In addition to the benefits of the other options, this option provides the opportunity for the facilitator to observe, participate in, and/or co-teach a one-day Applied Strategic Thinking® Workshop and receive expert, one-on-one feedback and guidance on successful delivery of the program. For more information on any of these certification options, or to tailor a certification process based on your needs, please contact us.

Do participants walk away with an action plan they can implement?

A: Yes, Applied Strategic Thinking® has a robust action planning process so participants can begin to immediately apply the Model and concepts. During the program, participants practice using the Model by working through a personalized, real-life strategy using the Applied Strategic Thinking® Road Map. Using this method, they are prepared to apply the principles learned to real planning and implementation when they return to work. This exercise increases their confidence and motivation to use the skills they learn. The workshop also utilizes accountability teams and ongoing support through follow-up and sustainability.

Does the program include other strategic thinking tools?

A: Yes. CMOE provides a variety of job aides and tools. CMOE is also developing a Web-portal that will launch in 2014 where participants can access resources and tools post-workshop. In addition to these resources, participants receive unlimited access to CMOE’s blog which provides them with strategic thinking resources as well as CMOE resources on other leadership topics.

Can this workshop be completed in one day or less?

A: Because each client is unique, we offer the Applied Strategic Thinking® workshop in one-day, one-and-a- half-day, two-day, virtual, or blended learning formats. We also offer a two-and-a-half-day workshop held at the historic Gettysburg Battleground. Participants attending this unique and specialized version of this workshop explore the battlefield with an expert tour guide while our facilitator relates the key points of the tour with strategic thinking skills and principles.

Does CMOE offer any supporting books or publications?

A: Yes. CMOE offers a full library of supporting publications including two books specifically on strategic thinking: Ahead of the Curve and our latest publication, Strategy is Everyone’s Job. We also offer two ebooks on strategy: Strategy Onion Series and Three-headed Monster.

“Strategic thinking at any level means being an active agent in the way the future unfolds and not sitting back until the future hits you between the eyes.”

Steven J. Stowell, Ph.D.

“When leaders provide strategic direction and vision, their team members feel a greater sense of ownership and pride in their work, and they are better prepared to navigate the often difficult passage that is strategic change.”

Stephanie S. Mead

“Every function or unit has to think about how to achieve success tomorrow as well as today.”

Strategy is Everyone’s Job: A guide to Strategic Leadership