Thinking Strategically: How to be Ahead of the Curve© 2012 CMOE Press
situations, or on important projects or initia-tives that are already underway. So, whetheryou use these skills systematically or individu-ally, you are likely to develop some thought-provoking ideas that will save you some agony,money, and time, as well as increase your con-tribution to the success o your organization.Remember, it is never too late to begin actingstrategically. Now is the time to refect on yourcurrent situation and prepare or the uture. Fi-nally, don’t try to do everything at once. Learnrom your successes and ailures as you developyour strategic thinking skill set.
1. Tame the Beast
As we alluded to earlier, the rst step o yourstrategy-thinking journey centers on creatinga little space in your lie to clear your head andnd time to refect. Extra time and a clear headwon’t come looking or you. You have to bedeliberate as you create space in your operatingworld. Our beasts are not bad in and o them-selves. All too oen, we simply allow themto get out o control. In act, many o us havelearned to love the renzied beast. Unless wetake deliberate steps to control the daily pres-sures and grind, our hard work evolves into ourworst enemy rom a strategic point o view.For each o us, the 800-pound gorilla can besomething dierent. For some people, the sheer volume o work prevents them rom lookingahead. For others, the drama o regular emer-gencies holds them captive. Some o you may treat everyone else’s urgent requests as yourown and ail to place your own responsibili-ties into proper perspective. Regardless o thecause, the beast is always close by. Yet, i wemanage our beasts well, they can become valu-able allies; i we allow them to run rampant,they can lead to our eventual downall.It is unortunate, but too many people measureus by how many gorillas we can carry on ourbacks. Sometimes, we mistakenly think that theway to build respect and credibility is to runwith the beast and become a pack mule or extrapair o hands. Te key in this step is to takeresponsibility or the proper care and eedingo your gorillas. So, how do you get a leash onyour beasts?First, you need to dene some strategic groundrules; then, have the courage and discipline tostick with them. Tat means, i you need thirty minutes to think about the week ahead, thendon’t jump into the rst skirmish that comesup. I you need a long lunch each month toplan ahead, don’t compromise it at the rsturgent request. Secondly, you have to block o some time. It doesn’t have to be much—justenough to get your mind in gear. Tird, beobservant. ake things in, be curious, ask ques-tions, nd out where your organization is goingand link your strategy to it. Fourth, be willingto learn, try the strategic thinking tools, andtrust the process. Fih, be ready or some pushback and surprised looks. People who aren’taccustomed to seeing you in a strategic lightwill have to get used to the new you. Anyonecan quibble with your thoughts, analysis, andorecast. Expect some resistance. It is natural asyou become a strategic change agent or catalyst.
2. Acquire the Target
In order to be a strategic thinker, you needwhat we call a strategic dashboard to help youcheck out the things that are driving your cur-rent success and understand exactly what willdrive your uture success.aking the time to survey your work and deneyour priority objectives isn’t too dicult; you just need to muster the discipline to look atyour world rom a distance and rom a dierentperspective. You may eel that it is unproduc-tive to do this—that you are not accomplishinganything. And or the truly activity-addictedperson, that eeling is normal and natural. Youmay need a coach, mentor, or associate to pro- vide support along the way to help in managingthe 800-pound gorilla. Other people are simply araid o what they may discover as they un-earth their strategic objectives. Tey may see