To have a strategic planning, there should be a strategic mind-set. Quote by Sun Tsu, a Chinese military strategist, "Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat." Most people are confused between strategic mind-set and strategic planning. James L.Morrison (2000) in reporting Mintzberg's study, strategic mind-set is about a vision that where a particular organization should be heading, about using creativity to formulate an integrated perspective and synthesis. On the other hand, strategic planning is about analyzing by breaking down goals into steps, then design and estimates the consequences of each step. Strategic mind-set in the corporate is generally a team effort and it requires the team to develop solutions that are more creative, practical and highly applicable to the particular problem. Always, real strategic mind-set, instead of hypothetical posturing or stultifying exercises, is the best way to produce better strategy mind-set. Before taking the company to the next level, one's thinking should bring to the next level. Einstein said, "We can't solve our problems at the same level of thinking that created them." Strategic mind-set concentrates more on long-term benefits.
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The problem faced by the managers for not having a strategic mind-set while they are planning is because they are afraid of learning a new mind-set. They are afraid of failure then they unknowingly put the key steps to fail. They tend to lie to themselves and keep on focusing on the negativity that surrounds them. They become more short-sighted. Besides, they are also lazy to think, thinking that it is torturing. Here is a famous quotation from Luther Burbank, "Thinking is the greatest torture in the world for most people".
The benefit on having a strategic mind-set is that when managers get to think strategically, they will be influencing then being influence by others which also means that, they are being proactive rather than reactive. They deal positively with the changes that are occurring and become more confident, and then the more flexible company that can adapt will change. Besides, they get to find innovative ways to achieve goals that helps to create an environment which is more creative in the business which will facilitate a positive growth. Furthermore, with strategic thinking, managers get to use the resources effective and efficiently which impacts the business to have a positive growth.
Morrison, J., Forbes, L., & Wilkinson, G. (n.d) states that, to have a strategic mind-set, managers should first understand the importance of being open-minded in seeking and using information to make decisions. Facts are always updating according to the time, managers should update, analyze and synthesize on it to help on their thinking. Choose only those that are important and usable in the business or those that might affect the stakeholders. Then, recognise and use the opportunity that can get. New opportunities can be getting when there are external changes. To be successful, grab the opportunity when it is discovered and take advantage of it. If one can make the situation better, it means that the person is flexible. Managers should be more imaginative and innovative. Be involved with people through communication and consensus building by sharing information and ideas. It might get to spot a new threat of opportunity in the environment or having an idea that get to improve the strategy from any person in the institution. This is the person that should be listening to. Manager should keep his employees focus on the most important issues.
Strategic thinking is a mind-set that involves in coming up the best solutions for various events. There are 4stages of strategic thinking which are reactionary, remedial, resourceful and revolutionary. In the reactionary stage, one should acknowledge and respond to the current problem. Status quo should be preserved and fight to survive because there are a lot of competition going on in the corporate world. Those who think differently and creatively will be given the full attention and survive. Remedial stage is about understanding and conforming. Understanding the problem that is needed to solve or improve to avoid the unimportant stuff and conforming about the problem again to make sure that it is more and about the same from the previous understanding. While in the resourceful stage, it is about identifying and capitalizing to get the maximum opportunities. Lastly, revolutionary which is about create and exploit, is about changing the rules and controlling the board game.
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A recent study (Strategic Management Process Consultants) shows that the only largest issue to think strategically is the issue of change. Most of the barriers are a result of potential changes within the company as a result of implementing a strategy. Some individuals can find that their role has switch or being eliminated. For example, a manufacturer decides to move from a solely direct sales approach to a combination of direct sales and distributors. This might worried some of the sales person about the changes of their role in the company. Technology is use to improve the efficiency by accepting data in specific formats and translate it. Therefore, the existing systems infrastructure is generally focused on sustaining the current state of affair. For example, it could impact the function of individual's job or result in a significant financial investment to upgrade the systems which may draw funds away from another "pet" project. Process ties the current systems, people and structure together but with any changes in the strategy, it could have an impact on the processes. Structure is represented through the role of the staff, reporting relationship and also the ownership structure of the company. It is often seen and facilitates the development of a new direction as the part of the company's strategic management system with the changes to a company's organization.
To overcome the barriers to strategic thinking, leadership is a must. Building a strategic thinking must be supported by the company's leadership. Communication is also important because it provides updates on how the company is doing. Communication is being come up on variety forms which include memo, meetings, newsletters, etc. Besides, reward behaviors that support strategic thinking to increase the interest of employees using strategic thinking.
As a conclusion, there is lack of strategic mind-set in the 21st century managers because they are more and more afraid to take risk and playing a safe game. That is why there is not much improvement in some of the companies. Strategic mind-set playing a big role in the corporate world as creativity is one of the important things to keep the consumers alert to their products. There are benefits on strategic thinking but there are also barriers. Those barriers should be overcome in terms to improve the performance of the company.
James L.Morrison 2000 "From Strategic Planning to Strategic Thinking", HORISON site
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