Strategic Thinking, NOT Strategic Planning is the Key to Organizational Success

Everyone knows Strategic Planning is critical to the long-term organization success.

Sadly, not all Strategic Planning turns out as successfully as we would like. A Strategic Plan is a highly structured, tangible product with specific times for implementation (usually one to five years) and very worthy objectives. The finished product is highly touted and initially creates fanfare within the organization but many times the enthusiasm is short lived and very quickly the Strategic Plan is left sitting on a shelf collecting dust. Even with the best intentions, creating and sustaining positive change is difficult.

Traditionally, Strategic Plans are designed to create organizational change. They require communication and advocacy to bring about the desired results or there is a risk of generating unnecessary fear, eroding trust and slowing productivity to a crawl. That is why developing an organization filled with Strategic Thinkers is so critical.  While Strategic Planning paints the big picture intended to effectively guide an organization forward, it is Strategic Thinking that gives the organization its ability to effectively and consistently implement critical strategic goals. Strategic Thinkers are workers, managers and executives who clearly understand the Strategic Plan and are focused on turning its goals into reality. They are empowered and encouraged to identify strengths and weaknesses within the current flow of goods and services. The implementation of Strategic Thinking and training Strategic Thinkers throughout an organization will determine the success of the Strategic Plan and the organization itself.

Strategic Thinking allows your management team to generate a vibrant and consistent mindset, which spreads throughout the organization allowing everyone to more deeply understand the way the organization works. Strategic Thinking creates a living and breathing Strategic Plan and drive’s good decision-making.

Strategic Thinkers always ask themselves:

  • What are we doing now, that should stop?
  • What are we not doing now, that should start?
  • What are we doing now, that we should keep doing but only with improvement?

Strategic Thinking gives everyone a powerful sense of connection and a much clearer understanding of what it takes to be successful as a whole and not just as a department or a division.

Seven Concepts of Strategic Thinking

  1. I am a part of a greater whole. I am only successful when we are all successful.
  2. We always keep our focus on the guiding principles of our organizational Mission, Vision and Values.
  3. Everyone is an equal part of the whole. We value and desire input from all members of our community. No one is excluded.
  4. Each daily action guides us successfully toward our overall Strategic Plan.
  5. We agree to put aside personal issues and conflicts for the successful achievement of our Strategic Plan.
  6. I am committed to be an active participant throughout this process. As a Strategic Thinker I will continually review how my work and behavior affects my unit and how my unit’s work and behavior affects my organization as a whole.
  7. We agree that all feedback and suggestions will be made with a positive focus on the problem and not a negative focus on an individual or unit.

Strategic Thinking creates a powerful sense of commitment, which in turn delivers a highly positive and productive workforce and a profitable organization. 

John Chappelear is an author, speaker, executive coach, and trainer. John’s programs build positive, powerful, productive and profitable organizations. 

He is internationally recognized as an expert on leadership and communication.
John’s book The Daily Six won the best book award from USA Book News.

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Check out my quick video on Success vs Significance and this video on 5 Steps To Create Positive Results In Your Life.

John Chappelear
Changing the Focus, LLC

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