This video shows a mountain biker in Africa on a path that is leading him to a desired destination. Everything is going as planned until an uncontrollable force abruptly changes his direction. Although this unforeseen event derails his ride, he is able to avoid serious injury because he was equipped with the proper tools for his journey. Before the bike ride began, he anticipated the possibility of a crash and planned accordingly. He took the necessary precaution of wearing a helmet and it ultimately saved him from serious injury, possibly even death.
Whether large or small, every individual makes strategic decisions on a daily basis. Before a good strategic decision can be made, some necessary items need to be addressed. Information needs to be collected, forces need to be evaluated, and possible outcomes need to be defined. Some things are out of your control. What you can control is your level of preparedness. The more prepared you are, the less damage you will incur, giving yourself a better chance of a positive outcome.
Collecting information is a crucial step in making any decision. Investigate and understand the environment you are entering. Take your observations, as well as your knowledge and experience into account. Gather data and look for trends and patterns that exist. Ultimately, in the environment around you, you want to find connections between what you knew before, what you know now and the decision you are about to make.
Evaluating forces allows you to leverage positive situations and counteract possible threats. Identify the forces and variables that will make an impact on your decision. Evaluate both the external obstacles and the favorable circumstances that you may encounter. Compare this evaluation with your own personal capabilities and limitations to determine the risk factors and advantages involved with the decision you are making.
Defining the possible and probable outcomes of your decision prepares you for scenarios that might happen in the future. Part of thinking strategically is the ability to see the end from the beginning. Create plausible storylines about what you think might happen. Forecast a range of outcomes and weigh the rewards against the risks before you move forward. You need to harness your intelligence, experience, and know-how and turn them into a reasonable and knowledgeable prediction about the events that are likely to occur. Once you have come up with a number of plausible scenarios and decided your path, openly profess your intentions and ideas with others who are related with or affected by your decision.
Although the cyclist in Africa did not foresee an animal knocking him off his bike while he was riding, he did think like a strategist and prepared himself for the possibility a crash. He collected information about the environment and compared it to his riding capabilities. He evaluated the forces surrounding his day and knew that a crash was a possible outcome. He took the necessary steps and made the decision to wear a helmet. By doing his due diligence, he was prepared to mountain bike in Africa and was able to avoid what could have been a very serious injury or even his own death. Strategically planning for the decisions you make will allow you to adapt to the uncontrollable forces that might block you from your desired results.