Strategic thinking and Planning skills

12/10/2022 0 By indiafreenotes

Strategic thinking is a combination of many modes of thinking, including analytical, creative, visionary, contradiction, tactical, gut-feeling (intuitive), chronological, holistic, and critical among others.

Use strategic thinking when you:

  • Have a difficult “roadblock” that impedes your ability to meet a goal or a future desired state
  • Have a group of experts in the room that need to work together to solve a complex problem
  • Want to focus on the long-term versus the short term
  • Want to use what you have to maximum advantage [i.e. leverage]
  • Want to not “do things the way they have always been done around here”
  • Have inaccurate information and/or conclusions, and are able to treat any conclusions as tentative or hypotheses.


The competitive landscape can change quickly for any organization. New trends may emerge quickly and require you to take advantage of them or fall behind. By incorporating everyday strategic thinking into your work and life routines, you will become more skilled at anticipating, forecasting, and capitalizing on opportunities.

On an individual level, thinking strategically allows you to make a greater contribution in your role, become more essential to your organization, and prove that you’re ready to control greater resources.

Strategic Thinking in Business

During an organization’s annual strategic planning process, leaders often compile, analyze, and synthesize external and internal data and ideas to develop its strategic intent and build a strategic narrative. This document will guide the company into the future for a defined period of time. Leaders then choose and plan specific actions that will accomplish these strategic initiatives.

Businesses also need to schedule a time for strategic thinking and reviews throughout the year. Leadership teams should periodically examine their strategic initiatives to ensure execution is taking place, review, and sustain the effort across the organization.

Strategic Thinking in Leadership

Business leaders and stakeholders use strategic thinking and analysis to decide what product mix they’ll offer, what competitive landscape to compete in (or not compete in), and how limited resources will be allocated such as time, employees, and capital. They must decide how to best structure enroll others to achieve important objectives and to avoid putting resources at unnecessary risk of loss.

Strategic Planning

“Strategic planning is an organization’s process of defining its strategy, or direction, and making decisions on allocating its resources to pursue this strategy. It may also extend to control mechanisms for guiding the implementation of the strategy.”

“A systematic process of envisioning a desired future, and translating this vision into broadly defined goals or objectives and a sequence of steps to achieve them. In contrast to tactical planning (which focuses at achieving narrowly defined interim objectives with predetermined means), strategic planning looks at the wider picture and is flexible in choice of its means.”

Based on our thinking on strategic thinking above, we would urge you to also consider that strategic is about ensuring you and the group really dig deeply to look at what gets in the way of implementing your vision. This means looking at root causes or in the Technology of Participation (ToP) model of strategic planning, we call this contradictions to the vision. This is a unique piece in the ToP method that we have found to be extremely valuable to organizations and groups.

Some common scenarios that lead people to the need for strategic planning include:

Structural Changes. Your organization has recently acquired, been acquired or merged with other departments or organizations. When this happens you need to bring together different cultures, address mistrust and often adjust your mission statement. Or, you have had a lot of changes in personnel new leaders, key staff are coming on board.

Economic Changes. Your organization has recently had a significant increase or decrease in funding. You may need to make some hard choices about priorities because you either have fewer resources to do the work of the organization or you seem to have lost your mission focus.

Policy Changes. Your board or senior leadership teams have decided to address a social or health issue you haven’t focused on before. Or, you are focusing on a new target group, product or service. You need to know how these changes affect the overall mission and values of the organization and move carefully to implement them.