Suppose you are facing one of YOUR biggest problems.
How can you take advantage of strategic thinking to address your them?
7 Tips for How to Solve the Biggest Problems with Strategic Thinking
Here are seven tips for how to solve the biggest problems with strategic thinking in a way that leads to creating strategic impact.
1. Involve as diverse and knowledgeable a group of participants as is relevant and manageable.
One key is thinking about multiple types of involvement (in-person and active vs. participating only through sharing ideas), diversity, relevance, and knowledge. Don't limit your participants to the usual gang of strategic thinkers; bring new people into the strategic thinking process.
2. Inform the group with as many rich, current insights as is practical.
You want people to share their own strategic perspectives. But since a diverse group won't all have the same underlying knowledge (or have knowledge as current as you might prefer), give them to-the-point, actionable insights to prepare them to be successful strategic thinkers.
3. Imagine the result you will need at the end is BEFORE you start.
Think ahead to what will let you stop the strategic thinking clock. Figuring out the result before you begin lets you know when you're getting closer or further away from the result during the strategic thinking process. It will also signal if you have reached a conclusion before you expected one to develop.
4. Anticipate what it will take to do something with the result BEFORE you start.
Yes, you need to do a LOT of thinking about the end before you begin! Creating strategic impact from strategic thinking involves figuring out how you will sell-in and actually implement ideas and plans you develop.
5. Create a structured process to efficiently move through only the necessary steps to reach a conclusion.
Don't leave it to chance that your strategic thinkers will self-organize a process to be productive. Similarly, don't just lift a strategic thinking or strategic planning process from a textbook and expect it to work. Your strategic thinkers may not need all the steps or processes detailed in the textbook. Devise a strategic thinking process that will help THIS group be successful in reaching the end result.
6. Set time limits and ground rules.
Groups can take on lives of their own and spend way too much or way too little time on important (or unimportant) issues. Use time limits and project management techniques to manage the strategic thinking process for efficiency and effectiveness.
7. Don't vote on the final recommendations.
You may use multi-voting to narrow strategic choices and to gain a sense of what the group thinks while it is working. But don't put a final recommendation up to a vote. A final recommendation should make sense from a strategic and implementation perspective. That's not the type of decision where you use a majority vote to pick the right course of action.
What tips do you have to solve the biggest problems?
What are your keys to problem solving on major questions?
We certainly recommend this strategic thinking approach. If you do these seven things, you're in great shape to transition from strategic thinking into creating strategic impact and successfully solving the biggest problems you face. – Mike Brown