Applied Strategic Thinking® Frequently Asked Questions

FAQWhenever we have the opportunity to work with people and organizations, the idea of strategic thinking gets a lot of positive attention and brings up a lot of questions.  In response, we put together this list of questions we are asked most frequently.  We hope the answers help shed some light on the topic and increase your understanding of what CMOE calls Applied Strategic Thinking®.

Q: 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.

Q: What is the Applied Strategic Thinking® Workshop?

A: The Applied Strategic Thinking® workshop is a highly interactive learning experience for leaders and individual contributors based on our book, Ahead of the Curve, which details the practical Applied Strategic Thinking Model and its related tools. The workshop provides rich exercises and opportunities for the development of practical skills that help leaders and team members successfully capitalize on the forces and events that are shaping their future. The skills gained in this workshop are utilized by our client organizations around the world and serve individuals working at all levels and in a variety of industries.

Q:  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.

Q:  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.

Q: 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.

Q: How can I determine what strategic thinking skills I currently have and what areas I need to improve?

A: The Applied Strategic Thinking® workshop includes a comprehensive assessment that can be given before and/or after the workshop to discover a participant’s current strategic thinking strengths and opportunities for improvement. Pre-workshop responses help participants to be aware of areas they can focus on during the training; post-workshop responses measure any changes in behavior and identify ways to take advantage of future opportunities; analyze information; and be prepared for the challenges or obstacles that lie ahead.

Q: 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.

Q: 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.

Q: 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.

Q: 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.

Q: 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.

Q: 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.

Q: 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.

Q: 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.

Q: 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.

Q: 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.

Q: 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.

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About the Author

CMOE Design Team

CMOE’s Design Team is comprised of individuals with diverse and complementary strengths, talents, education, and experience who have come together to bring a unique service to CMOE’s clients. Our team has a rich depth of knowledge, holding advanced degrees in areas such as business management, psychology, communication, human resource management, organizational development, and sociology.