People ask me frequently during speeches and presentation about which employees should be thinking strategically in business. My perspective is the best organizations cultivate some strategic thinking skills in all employees. While that idea's frequently received skeptically, especially by senior executives, it comes from the view that strategic thinking is about “addressing things that matter with insight and innovation.”
The definition suggests strategic thinking is about applying knowledge, good judgment, and a creative perspective within one’s job functions and scope. It clearly doesn’t mean strategic thinking is only limited to senior executives setting a company’s overall direction.
So while not everyone’s involved in corporate strategy, a broad group of employees should be tapped into innovative strategic thinking. In that way, they can evaluate their tactical activities against “what matters” when the typical business rules aren’t working.
That requires information sharing with employees and education on what’s important to the business strategically, how they contribute to that, and the parameters for them to exercise strategic judgment in assessing what matters. It’s certainly not easy, but it should contribute to better performance and customer experiences for any organization. – Mike Brown
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