Strategic Thinking


It never hurts to consider the bloodhound with his nose to the groundbig picture.  It sometimes feels like we’re snuffling along like a bloodhound with his nose to the ground … until, bonk, he runs right into the tree.  I found this article on by Paul Shoemaker and put the topic into my topic rotation, and so here we are.  I wasn’t familiar with him, but he seems like an impressive guy, and he worked for Royal Dutch Shell of which I have a vague memory that they did something interesting and cool once.

At any rate, the article is all about the 6 Habits of Strategic Thinkers.  I like eavesdropping sometimes on the advice the big business people are giving each other.  They are in the business of making things go successfully after all.  And the rest of us, down here in the land of making-things-work-as-best-we-can don’t often get to feel those captains-of-industry-at-the-ship’s-wheel-bravely-facing-down-everything-the storm-can-throw-at-him-or-her feelings.

Mr. Shoemaker’s article has a lot of practical advice which you may be able to apply to your own strategic plans. 

He suggests that to “anticipate” you should “Look for game-changing information at the periphery of your industry.”  Well, you’re probably casting a wide net, taking in a lot of information and listening to a whole host of different voices, trying to get an idea of where things will be lurching next and how you can do well should they so lurch.

So let’s all take a moment today and consider the big picture.  You’ve probably already done more strategic thinking than you give yourself credit for.  What’s the goal, what are we actually trying to accomplish, how’s it going, when was the last time we thought about it?  And how confident am I that my strategic thinking is up to the task of getting me there?  Not that anyone asked, but that’s my advice for today.

[as an aside:

Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt created Oblique Strategies, a deck of cards of “over one hundred useful dilemmas” in 1975.  I love them; they can help.  You can try mine at Oblique_Strategies (it’s a simple Excel spreadsheet, harmless, honest, with a very simple macro).  I created it long ago from a set I got as a gift, handmade from a copy because they weren’t available except in very limited editions at the time.  There’s an iPhone App and other versions.  Or try the online version from Blackhat.]

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