At CMOE, we are often asked the question what is the end result of applying strategy on a day to day basis. Through extensive research and development, we have discovered that great strategic thinkers in any job or at any level learn how to nurture these skills. They avoid being seduced and succumbing to the activity addiction. Good strategic thinkers develop their skills by practicing and hunting “small game” such as projects, assignments, and team issues. Later, many assume key corporate positions or become political leaders or military strategists on a much larger scale.
While most people won’t become world leaders or famous generals, many people will fulfill valuable roles in organizations. Your value will increase if you master the principles and skills of personal strategic thinking. These are skills that can be learned or acquired with just a little commitment and desire. Yes, there will be some formidable forces to overcome. You will have to be less enslaved by your own comfortable thought patterns and your traditional views and solutions to problems. You will have to develop patience and move away from the “task magnet” to give your mind a chance to breathe, think, reflect, and contemplate. You will have to resist constant pressure for instant results, quick fixes, and fast solutions to every challenge or dilemma. In short, you will have to be courageous and bold as you try to bring more balance and a strategic perspective into your life.
The journey to improve strategic thinking isn’t necessarily simple or easy. It takes an investment in training and practice. But the journey will be worth it. You can be more successful if you think ahead, determine what it will take to make a difference, and make a greater contribution. You can avoid a lot of heartache when you anticipate forces that can lift you up or take you down. By adopting a proactive mindset, you will be more prepared for those tough decisions, realities, and opportunities that come your way. You can prepare your team to weather the storms and to move out when the sun appears.
Experiment with these ideas, and add liberally to these fundamental skills and ideas as you steer your ship into the future. We are convinced the strategic process will change your life in positive ways with a little thought, with some heart, discipline, and with a lot of determined action.
“The future is not a result of choices among alternative paths offered by the present, but a place that is created, created first in mind, then in will and next in activity. The future is not someplace we are going to, but one we are creating. The paths to it are not found but made and the activity of making them changes the maker and the destination.” John Scharr