Not too many years ago I was part of a team working on an exciting and meaningful project. As work progressed, I discovered that key objectives of the project were not being met and there was a great deal of uncertainty about future funding.

Our team met several times to discuss the situation and had many conversations about creating a plan that would move the project forward. There were a few good ideas tossed around, but the ultimate plan ended up going back to the same approach and line of thinking that had been followed over the previous decade.

As a person who loves to think outside the box and take a strategic approach, I began to scan the environment and spend time exploring alternative possibilities. My efforts revealed that the environment that existed when this project began had changed and the needs of the people that we served had changed. The difficulties we were experiencing were the result of our team, and our organization, being behind the curve.

Those changes were making it difficult for us to reach our goals, but there were also changes within the industry that, if embraced, would create opportunities for us to develop new partnerships and reach a more targeted audience. In addition, there were new funding alternatives that could be explored and leveraged.

These new ideas were shared with the team, and I’d like to say it created a door of opportunity for new ideas to be discussed and an updated plan developed. Unfortunately, strategic thinking was not a competency that was embraced by the organization and key decision makers within the project were unwilling to let go of the past.

The result?

Our future on this important project—and the project itself—was at risk. Not long after that, I left the organization. Within a few months after my departure, the project was passed on to another organization with a strategic plan to revive the failing program.

This experience solidified my belief in the need for strategic thinkers at all levels of an organization to keep it ahead of the curve and competitive. Here at CMOE, I have the opportunity to personally witness how strategic thinking training impacts an organization positively by reviewing the results of our Applied Strategic Thinking® (AST) workshop.

AST® workshop participants learn how to think and act strategically. The workshop has had a positive impact on leaders, individual contributors, and teams. Here are a few examples of what they are saying about the difference AST® skills and principles have made.

“I just wanted to thank you again for an absolutely phenomenal couple days of training.  Trust me when I say, I needed this course desperately, as I am far too tactical and frankly in the weeds.”  — Ryan C., District Manager

As a result of this workshop, I feel I can really leverage strategic thinking in my day-to-day role in customer satisfaction.”  — Judy P., Director

The course created a lot of buzz among participants after class too, and participants wrote how the workshop has helped them think differently and plan differently.  This has been a powerful and important event for our group.”  — Adrienne B., V.P., Human Resources

The Applied Strategic Thinking® workshop is a highly interactive learning experience that combines rich exercises with practical application and collaborative discussions.  The AST® workshop gets participants thinking about —and taking action on—forces and events that will shape their future and helps them get past a business as usual mentality.

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About the Author
Polly Scott
Polly is an Assistant Vice President for CMOE and specializes in organizational management and executive coaching. Polly also has years of experience in sales and marketing, strategic leadership, leadership principles and execution. She is dedicated to listening and understanding the goals of clients.

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