Most activity in the business world falls into one of two groups – strategic and operational matters. We’re inclined to see operational matters as “lower” than strategic matters but they’re equally important.
While it’s critical to have a strategy, if there is no operational (implementation) plan, the strategy will remain only that – a strategy.
Strategic thinking refers to the ability, skill and process of creating the future whether in your personal or professional life. In our rapidly evolving world, it is critical for you and me to have the skill to create our own future. If we don’t, others will create it for us. This applies to companies as well as to individuals.
A quick story will very clearly show you how strategic thinking works …
Four women friends were playing a round of golf when one, the CEO of a successful company who had been telling her friends about her troubles with an unfaithful husband, struck her ball in such a way that it landed near the water in a rather lonely area of the course.
As she bent down at the water’s edge to retrieve her ball, a little genie appeared in front of her and said, “I am the genie of the lake and I will grant you three wishes. Whatever you wish for will be yours, but I must also inform you that, whatever you wish for, your husband will receive a hundred times more. What is your first wish?”
Quick as a flash, the CEO said, “I want to be the wealthiest women in the world.”
“I will grant your wish, but bear in mind that your husband will receive a hundred times the wealth you will have,” cautioned the genie.
“Oh, that’s alright,” said the woman. I will have more than enough of my own so he can keep all the wealth he gets.”
“Very well,” said the genie, “your wish is granted.”
Immediately the woman’s mobile phone started beeping with messages from her bank confirming massive deposits into her account. Her friends, witnessing this were suitably impressed.
“What is your second wish?” asked the genie.
“I want you to make me the most beautiful woman in the world,” said the CEO.
“I can certainly grant you your wish,” said the genie, “but please bear in mind that your husband will be a hundred times better looking and will attract the attention of many other women,” answered the genie.
“I’m not too bothered about that as I will be the most beautiful woman of them all so he will only have eyes for me,” quipped the woman.
“As you wish,” said the genie, and immediately the woman was transformed into the most beautiful woman ever seen.
Her three friends staggered back at the incredible beauty they saw standing before them and were completely stunned by what they had witnessed.
“And now for your third and last wish but, remember, whatever it is, your husband will get a hundred times more” said the genie.
Without a moment’s hesitation, the woman said, “I want you to give me just a very mild heart attack ...”
Now THAT’S a tongue-in-cheek way to understand strategic thinking!
Don’t hope for a better reality. In the words of the book title by Rick Page, hope is not a strategy. Start imagining the future you wish to create in your professional and personal lives, then start taking decisive action that will take you to your desired destination. Don’t let someone else create your reality. Create it yourself.
Alan Hosking is the publisher of HR Future magazine, www.hrfuture.net, @HRFuturemag, and a professional speaker. He assists executives to prevent, reverse and delay ageing, and achieve self-mastery so that they can live and lead with greatness.