More and more, experts in the field of strategic planning and management are advocating for more attention to be paid on strategic thinking, and recommending for it to be considered a separate and distinct stage in the strategy planning and executing cycle. Results from the strategic thinking exercise feeds directly into creation of the strategic vision, which according Thompson, Strickland & Gamble (2008) is the first phase of a strategy-making, strategy executing cycle.
Ingid Bonn (Bonn, 2001) is very convincing in her argument that not only is strategic thinking an important aspect of any manager’s role, but also that the thinker has special qualities. This implies that not all managers are necessarily strategic thinkers, and in order for an organization to have the best chance at producing optimal strategic plans, they should be particular about the people they hire at levels where strategic decisions are required, and that there should be some sort of criteria to evaluate the creative strengths of these individuals. Since the function of strategic thinking cannot be the effort of one individual, it is imperative that care is taken to build a cohesive strategic management team, who complement each other, and are able to draw from each other in a way that their efforts will be truly representative of a thorough analysis of the available information and who can produce a set of best strategic options of courses of action available to the organization.
In reality though, the cost, both in terms of time and also money, of investing in the process of preparing an involved, focused strategic vision and plan (involving the strategic thinking phase) can be very high, even prohibitive (Temkin, 2003), and as such may not be considered an immediate priority to an organisation’s management team. As well, considering internal factors, building such a strategic team can be a challenge occasioned by -among other issues- lack of appropriate/accurate information...
References: Thompson A. A, Strickland A. J & Gamble J. E. (2008) Crafting and Executing Strategy: The Quest for Competitive Advantage, 16th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill/Irwin
Bonn I. (2001) ‘Developing Strategic Thinking As a Core Competency’, Management Decision, 39 (1), pp.63-70. Available from: http://www.emerald-library.com/ft
Temkin, T (2003) ‘Strategic Plans Aren’t the Answer (Part 1 of a 5 Part Series), Nonprofit Boards and Governance Review, September 2003 [Online]. Available from: http://www.corestrategies4nonprofits.com/scans/nbg.pdf
Kotter J. P. (1995) ‘Leading Change: Why Transformation Efforts Fail’, Harvard Business Review, [Online]. Available from: http://harvardbusinessonline.hbsp.harvard.edu/hbsp/hbr/articles/article.jsp
CFAR (2001) Briefing Notes: What is Strategic Thinking?, Center for Applied Research [Online]. Available from: http://www.cfar.com/Documents/strathink.pdf
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