Strategic thinking refers to the way people think about the impact of their decisions in the medium and in the long term future. It is about making a pause, taking a step back and answering the question “What if I do this? What if I do that? Here are the consequences right now but what could be the consequences a few months down the line?” Strategic thinkers are focused on the long term. They are curious and creative.
People think that actions that boost their reputation are strategic. They are right. Reputation is the number one strategic risk. Why is that? Because it is the actions you take today that build the reputation your business will have tomorrow. Reputation is long and difficult to build and short and easy to tarnish. It takes very few unfortunate actions to damage your reputation for a long period of time.
There are several advantages that a strategy brings to a company : clarity, purpose, objectives, resources allocations, timeframe, progress indicators… A strategy is by no means a guarantee for success but it provides a sense of direction that employees can relate to.
A few days ago, I had a meeting with Kelly, a manager in a web publishing company in London. I explained that one of the main problems businesses face today is the lack of communication between the executive level and the management level, i.e. between the captain of the ship and the engine room.
As I was travelling on the bus this morning, I witnessed what I thought was going to be a shocking moment. Had it not been for this very attentive driver who slammed the brakes in good time to avoid the collision, the pedestrian, his head buried in his telephone would probably be lying in a hospital bed. It wasn’t the first time I’d seen a similar scene but this morning was a close shave.
In this day and age, thanks to modern technologies, we are all trying to do more than one thing at once. We are persuaded that this is the way to performance, to higher efficiency. But is it? Is multitasking an efficient way to get more things done? As a former fast jet pilot I can tell you that this is not how we do things.
About the author
Emmanuel is a mentor and a motivational speaker. He is passionate about leadership and strategy. He is a former fast jet pilot and senior officer.