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The Champion Forum Podcast

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TCFP131: Strategic Thinking

Have you ever felt like you were in a rut? The key to making progress and finding fresh energy is to invest enough time and energy into strategic thinking. Today on the Champion Forum Podcast, we discuss the power of strategic thinking to help you navigate complexity, make informed decisions, and drive your organization toward success.

Benefits of Strategic Thinking

  1. Organizations led by strategic thinkers gain a competitive advantage. They can differentiate themselves in the market and anticipate competitors’ moves.

  2. Leaders with strategic thinking capabilities foster a culture of innovation within their organizations. They encourage creative thinking and support new ideas that drive growth and improvement.

  3. In a rapidly changing world, strategic thinking allows leaders to anticipate and respond to shifts in the business landscape to stay relevant.

Q: Have you worked with a strategic leader? What did they tend to focus on? How did their focus on strategy impact the company? Were there any drawbacks? If so, explain.

How to Become a Strategic Leader

Develop a Long-Term Vision

Strategic thinking starts with developing a long-term vision for the organization. Great leaders have a clear understanding of where they want the organization to be in the future. Your vision should feel attainable but still stretch your organization. This vision will help you create a meaningful strategy and ensure you are focused on your goals.

Analyze the Business Landscape

Leaders need to analyze the business landscape to identify opportunities and potential challenges. This involves understanding market trends, competitive forces, and disruptive technologies.

  1. Gather insights from customer feedback, surveys, and market research to understand customer needs and preferences better. Two great questions to ask are 1) How did you hear about us? and 2) What is the biggest challenge that you are facing?

  1. Perform a SWOT Analysis: SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. Assess your internal strengths and weaknesses, as well as external opportunities and threats. Seek input from employees, managers, and stakeholders within your organization. They may offer valuable insights from different functional areas.

Foster Innovation

Strategic thinkers foster a culture of innovation within their organizations. They encourage creativity and risk-taking to drive continuous improvement and stay ahead in the market by empowering their employees with the structure and tools they need for success and celebrating and rewarding innovation. When innovation becomes a part of your company's DNA, it will propel you to stay ahead in a rapidly changing business landscape.

Be Curious

Curiosity starts by asking great questions. Seek to better understand market conditions, competitive threats, and current events. Find out how other organizations have succeeded in similar circumstances and work with your team to evaluate if their solutions will work in your company’s context.

Q: Which of these four ways to become a strategic leader do you feel you need to improve on? Why? Describe a time when you used one of these four strategies in the past. How did it impact your team’s culture or results?

Application Activities:

  1. Schedule some time to brainstorm with your team. Choose a time when everyone is relaxed and at ease, and make it clear that you want to hear their perspectives. If you want to get the most out of your team, survey them beforehand to determine what topic would best serve their needs. Pull out the whiteboard and make notes as you talk. Ask lots of questions and let them come up with solutions.

  2. It’s easy to get into a rut when focused on executing the status quo. To help your team get out of a mindset that they must do things a certain way, start looking for people who innovate their own solutions. Then, celebrate them! The more you celebrate innovation, even when it doesn’t work out perfectly, the more you will see it in your company’s culture.

  3. Clarify your long-term vision. If you can’t explain it thoroughly, your team likely does not understand it either. Once you know your vision, think about 3-5 things you and your team need to do very well to make it happen. Are your current tactics in line with those needs? What should you stop doing? What should you start doing? A SWOT analysis may be helpful. Contact to learn how our team can help.

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