What does it mean to be a Strategic Thinker?

97% of business leaders identify strategic thinking as key to business success, yet 96% say they don’t have time to plan. 

Not all strategic thinking has to be big, just simply nudging a few bits forward and good strategic thinking may also mean deciding what to be less good at. 

If you are one of the 70% of leaders who spent less than 1 day a month reviewing strategy in 2023 then see our Top 5 pointers for successfully unlocking profitable growth in 2024.

  1. If you don’t have time to create a strategy, then you really need a strategy

Without some form of clear strategy, everything becomes equally urgent because you have nothing that sets out your priorities. You can’t delegate strategy development, leadership needs to be able to communicate an effective strategy to all, it is worth remembering that strategy doesn’t list actions (that’s tactics) it sets out milestones on the path.

  1. Even a bad strategy wins against no strategy

Those that have some form of plan obtain better results than those who fall victim to events and may end up implementing somebody else’s strategy. The better the strategy, the less an obstacle or two will distract from your goal. To develop a strategy reflect on ‘Now’, visualise the ‘Where’ and plan for the ‘How’.

  1. Get off the dance floor and look at your operation from the balcony

Develop your own strategic thinking skills, pick a small project to experiment, this is the best learning. Reach out to your peers to ask about their strategic planning, to get an outside perspective and tap into their experiences through a Business Leaders Group, local chamber or industry body.

  1. Make strategic thinking a group effort

Involve the gang then they won’t be caught by surprise and unearth a full spectrum of ideas and perspectives from the start. Anything goes forums fosters creativity in a judgement free zone. Strategic thinking is one of those unwritten parts of all job descriptions.

  1. Get good at story-telling

You simply can’t over-communicate to all. Everybody should know their part to play for it to be effective. If you ‘live it’, it becomes the way you do things. Stories are a great way to convey that sense of purpose and direction, illustrating the company’s values and goals, building the brand and connecting with customers.

Ignoring strategy simply isn’t strategic. Strategy is not an event, it’s a process to follow, implement and repeat.

Simon Cossey