Spending too much time thinking without taking action! That is definitely not strategic thinking.
“Strategic thinking is about prioritizing tasks and decisions and executing on them well. Unfortunately, too many business leaders often have the wrong idea about the concept.”
Strategic thinking is about managing what to do and, what not to do. Usually, it simply means deciding to move some initiatives to the back burner to concentrate the bulk of your resources in a single key area or issue. While productivity is about “getting things done”, strategic thinking is about “getting the right things done” and this, as well as possible. This implies and, most than often, requires that some things will necessary have to be left undone. Productivity is everything about volume while strategic thinking is anything and everything about excellence. Without appropriate strategic thinking, productivity is meaningless.
For a manager, “labeling” things that are important and not important is essentially and nearly an impossible task. Every project that people are working on, this project is somehow “important” to them. For every one of their promoters, in some vague way, these projects all add some kind of value to the enterprise. The strategic leaders must consciously table some important projects or ignore some important opportunities to focus on the relevant issue at hand. Being strategic is to be able to decide which project will contribute most to the company’s mission, and focus on that project. Completing “important” projects on a first-come, first-served basis is not what we call being strategic.
Yes indeed, strategic thinking is something of an incongruity, because the term is missing the most important part of the concept: “Strategic Action.” Strategic thinking involves that thinking always must be followed by a decision that can be executed. “Strategic Thinking” must always yield and lead to “Strategic Action.” In spite of the uncertainty, the complexity or even the ever-present possibility of failure, a strategic leader and thinker must eventually step up to the plate and make the call about what is to be or not to be focus on.
Michel Ouellette JMD [jmdlive.com] is a Public Affairs & Communications Strategist, a miracle worker for entrepreneurs, executives and social innovators.