In theory, four simple steps ensure a great annual strategic planning process: Assess. Design. Build. Manage. Most folks are familiar with how it goes. Members of the organization’s senior leadership team meet as a large, formal committee, on a routine basis. The leadership team engages in complex discussions that then act for the blueprint – to guide and shape the overall enterprise-level strategy – for a determined period of time. Then, over time, the product of these strategic conversations and planning sessions evolves into the real-life, day-to-day activities that are goals cascaded to individuals. Each team member acts and performs their role – with their individual goals and priorities aligned to the annual plan. Performance management is intended to be an established process for ongoing performance. Nice. Neat. Easy-peasy. The reality? The annual business planning management is pretty darn complex. Why? Well, simply put, it comes down to dynamics such as people along with a need to ensure organizational relevance in a rapidly changing business environment.

Here’s the good news: Strategic thinking can be learned! Today, market leaders embrace the idea that every member of the team adds value to help achieve and deliver organizational success. Developing and executing strategic plans still remains a critical element for long-term organizational success – regardless of market disruptions, challenges from competitors or other variables – so we naturally think involving everyone in your organization in the strategic process brings value to your organization’s transformational efforts. Let’s pose the question differently: What happens if every member of the team is not on board and able to help you solve problems?

Below is a short list of four specific ways to foster your strategic thinking skills:

  • Know – Observe and Seek Trends
  • Think – Ask the Tough Questions
  • Speak – Sound Strategic
  • Act – Make Time for Thinking and Embrace Conflict

Follow this link to an article that will help you dive deeper into developing these four abilities. Hint: Non-managers can also apply these ideas to help encourage and influence other team members in your organization as part of an informal mentorship.

Be patient. Recognize that becoming a strategic powerhouse takes time. We believe the result often makes the difference between being an average and an exceptional team member. And, for some team members, it is important to acknowledge it can be a difficult skill to acquire because strategic thinking is as much about embracing a mindset as applying a set of techniques. We can all reflect on workplace situations where we have seen a lack of day-to-day strategy in a response to the in-your-face immediate demands of running the business. That’s why providing training and development opportunities to every member of the team in your organization is another element to supporting a healthy organizational culture.

Are you ready to take action and invest in developing your people to help them learn what strategic thinking is and encourage them to ask “why” and “when” questions? Reach out to us! Call us at 301-419-2835 or send us an email. We can talk about where you are, where you want to go and if we’re the right people to lead you there.