If given an opportunity of a free day outside your normal work schedule, how productively would you utilize that time? Some Executives and Managers would give anything to get their subordinates or employees to engage in strategic thinking rather than spending their time on many less productive routines. There are several misconceptions about strategic thinking. Some assume that only big ideas spring up from a strategic thinking process. Others attribute the outcome of strategic thinking to be the result of watching inspirational talks by analysts or reading scholarly business research articles.
Many executives spend the better part of their working hours resolving issue after issue and claim that they hardly have the time to think strategically. Strategic thinking is not rocket science. You can make strategic thinking a part of your daily routine.
There are three practical ways that you can incorporate strategic thinking into your job description and focus on the more strategic and important requirement of your job rather than firefighting. This would foster strategic leadership.
- Outline your primary obligations – Many leaders find themselves still tied up in the roles of their previous positions because the organisation is accustomed to reaching out to them for solutions to those problems. So even after their managerial promotion, they are still subtly saddled with those obligations. You need to define and outline your new role and objectives, spell out your target outcomes and strategically align yourself and your subordinates accordingly. Even when it is not clearly stated, you must strive to draw out your primary obligations in line with the organisation’s objectives. This would help you meet up with the firm’s expectations of your new position.
- Focus your resources on results-oriented activities – It is important as a new executive to strategically streamline your activities and resources as much as possible towards outcomes that impact the company positively. If you have just assumed a new managerial role, you most likely have to coordinate more people. This can be challenging but you must learn to channel both bodies (people) and budgets (resources) towards a unified goal. It is also important to learn the lessons as you grow, on the best approaches to achieve maximum results and do a critical analysis that would reveal future risks and opportunities based on trends. Finally, be innovative. Develop new ways that would add value to the company’s operations and overall success.
- Carry your subordinates along – As a leader, you need followers. If your subordinates do not understand your ambiguous numerous power point explanations, they will not run with the vision. You need to get their buy-in; they need to see how their individual activities are tied to the company’s success. This will drive a sense of belonging, value and also create accountability at all levels. Endeavour to provide a relaxed forum where employees can freely critique, discuss their concerns and share their views on better ways of driving success. Doing this would also result in high individual productivity.
It is now obvious that Strategic Thinking is borne out of action-deficiency rather than
time-deficiency. By implementing and incorporating strategic thinking directly to your daily job execution, and applying the three steps, the success would be inevitable.
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