More and more these days, it is important to consider being strategic regardless of our position in an organisation.
I am not a strategy specialist. I am coming at this topic ultimately from the perspective of my role as a psychologist and coach, helping people, teams and organisations to step back a bit and consider; ‘Is there another way I (we) can do life and work?’.
Being strategic can be as simple as an employee stepping back and making decisions about priorities and making time to devote to various tasks rather than just keeping the head down getting through task after task as it is assigned. At the other end of the scale, being strategic might be a CEO or a managing director establishing future plans for the entire organisation.
In a previous blog I discussed the challenges of being strategic and the difference between
‘strategic thinking’ and ‘strategic planning’.
Reflections on Being Strategic
If you read my previous blog on this topic, you’ve hopefully taken some time to consider your own strengths in this area and any challenges you might have in getting both elements – ‘thinking’ and ‘planning’ – of being strategic working for you.
Here’s some of my reflections:
In my role as a coach and facilitator of change in individuals, teams and organisations, I am somebody who wants to support transformation in as many people as I can. I often notice themes coming up again and again across clients. In noticing these themes across people and situations, this gives me clues as to what many more people might be thinking. I give myself time to reflect on these themes by asking more questions, discussing the themes with others and through reading and writing about the topics.
To return to a definition of ‘being strategic’ from the first blog in this series
Being strategic is taking an outside: in view of how things are, and could be done. It’s making sure that an individual, team or organisation’s core competence or competencies are consistently focusing on directional choices that will best move the individual, team or organisation toward its new future, with the least risk and in the most orderly fashion. It’s being proactive rather than reactive. It’s being committed to a vision and purpose.
However, just because I notice a theme and have done the thinking on it, doesn’t mean that my clients on a macro level are going to recognise the importance of addressing this particular theme. There are going to be other things on their minds, depending on their specific role and objectives. My ability to plan strategically as a business owner means I cannot just make a new set of plans to match this new theme. This will confuse my clients and possibly destroy my business. Therefore I need to sit separately in the ‘thinking’ and ‘planning’ and interweave both in making future plans.
My comfort zone in ‘being strategic’
I find I sit most comfortably in the strategic thinking side of things. I have endless ideas on what could be done and how things could be done. But because I have so many ideas and only a small team and very little time outside of my busy days, I am not great on strategic planning. Notice my excuse ‘only a small team and very little time outside of my busy days’? Having a small team does not mean I cannot be great at strategic planning! I just have to make the time to prioritise.
Many people I have coached are great at strategic planning but do not take the thinking time to consider new ways of doing things. They tell me that changing how things are done would create too much risk and so therefore there is no point in wasting time doing the big picture thinking.
Your ‘be more strategic’ challenge: Part 2
What excuses might you be telling yourself that are holding you back from taking adequate time to ‘be strategic’ NOW ?Back to Teams