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Out with Strategic Planning. In with Strategic Thinking in 2015

November 24, 2014
From Loan Officer Shellie Sexton

From Loan Officer Shellie Sexton

When military generals plot out their plans, they don’t lock them in and reevaluate at the mission’s end. They are constantly evaluating their choices, eyeing the “competition,” and adjusting strategies to win.  The same must happen in today’s businesses because in-depth, months-long strategic planning sessions are, well, in retreat. Why?

Today’s marketplace of ideas and services is bursting with new innovations every day, and it isn’t waiting for a full strategic plan to be laid out. Instead, it calls for strategic thinking, which is:

  • Dynamic, not static
  • Flexible, not rigid
  • Continuous, not episodic
  • Emergent trends, not historic standards
  • Rapid, not staid
  • Fluid, not fixed
  • Invention, not reworking existing
  • Journey, not destination
  • Welcoming of disruptions, not flustered by them

So how can you hone your strategic thinking skills for 2015? Here are six ways:

  1. Anticipate needs, opportunities and challenges by keeping up on what’s happening in the industry. Gear up for what’s ahead vs. what’s happening today.
  2. Challenge the status quo. So what if you’ve never done it that way before? Question the same ole’, same ole’ regularly.
  3. Analyze what you know. Strategic thinking is… strategic. It’s not a fly-by-the-seat of your pants method. Use the information, research, and trends you see to make informed observations and use those to brainstorm solutions and new ways of doing things.
  4. Decide. Many entrepreneurs take risks and make decisions with “just enough” information. They may not have every piece of data to support each step in the process, but they have enough to move forward.
  5. Learn. Quick turns and adjustments are a hallmark of strategic thinking, and those come when you learn from misfires or outright mistakes. Listen to those around you, seek opinions, and take action to make corrections quickly.


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