An Exercise in Strategic Thinking - dummies

By Erica Olsen

It’s time to apply strategic thinking to your business. What will your company look like and how will it compete in the year 2030 or 2035? What trends do you need to consider in your planning?

In relation to those questions, ask your team to come up with a list of ideas, statements, or activities to describe how the world looks in these five areas:

  • Economically

  • Socially

  • Politically

  • Technologically

  • Ecologically

  • Legally

With these lists on the wall, consider which trends apply to your business and which will affect your vision. Use this information as you’re developing goals and objectives for your strategic plan:

  • How can this trend influence our current customers?

  • How can this trend influence our current core business?

  • How can this trend create new customers?

  • Who are the potential customers?

  • What are our competitors doing about this trend?

  • How fast is this trend developing? What accelerates it or slows it down?

  • What are the risks of committing to this trend? What are the rewards?

You’re dead in the water if you let your assumptions take over strategic thinking. Ask your team to think more broadly–how would they answer the following questions?

  • What assumptions have you made?

  • What rules have you assumed?

  • How do your own perceptions influence the world you inhabit?

  • How do you see the world and how is your view different from that of other people? What advantages and disadvantages are there of each way of thinking?

With those thoughts in mind, how can you and your team think differently? How would your team answer these questions when imagining the problem from someone else’s angle? Have your team think about the following ideas as they relate to a different viewpoint:

  • What happens in other countries, cultures, or companies?

  • How can you change the situation to make a solution work?

  • Visit or read about other people’s lives and try to understand why they think the way they do.