Strategic Thinking can be defined as the learning process which entails many aspects of turning the innovative ideas into reality through team work, planning and organizing of resources. It includes the need to have problem solving abilities and critical analysis of situations. Strategic thinking can be used as a very effective tool to implement; manage and sustain the change in any organization and help organizations prosper under the scheme of change (Sanders, 1998). Why is Strategic thinking necessary? Strategic thinking when compared with strategic planning serves us with many differences.
With an aerial view, both of ideas seem to be very similar, however, in actual organizational based scenarios, strategic thinking is quiet different from planning, and involves more rigorous activities. Strategic thinking only helps in shaping the future that is partial planning of the future. In the process, the ideas are not discreet and are interactive in nature. This helps to generate better outputs as the interaction gives other the chances to present their opinions. Strategic thinking provides lower level management to have their say in strategy making and development as it an interactive system of thinking.
The involvement of the management at all levels is what gives it an edge over strategic planning. An organization is a system in which sub systems are present. These sub systems interact with each others and hence managers at all the levels come together to create a strategy viable for their organization. All the managers understand their positions and their roles in the organization know that they are correlated and are interdependent (Wootton & Horne, 2002). Strategic thinking has one important aspect i. e. , change. Change is inevitable when strategic thinking is in process.
It is true that strategic thinking tackles the difficult part of implementing the change rather than sustaining and evaluating it. Change management is difficult and the toughest part of change management is implementing and managing change (Wootton & Horne, 2002). Strategic Thinking and Influencing Change However, strategic thinking assists in successful change implementation. Change management and transformation from one state to the other is involved with rigorous planning and with out planning, change management process would come out to be a failure.
Hence, strategic thinks aids in making correct decisions as it an interactive system of thinking (Kotter, 1996). The important thing is to identify whether the change is at strategic, operational or functional level, and when change is identify, it must be made sure that in order to bring about the change a paradigm shift must come. The change that would come would bring a transformation current system and the way things are done in an organization. Innovative thinking and thinking that is out of the box clearly assists in planning and implementing a strategic change in an organization.
Continuous improvements and evaluation is another critical success factor in implementing change with the aid of critical thinking. In order to bring about the change effectively, the mangers must challenge the current situation they are in. complacency should be avoided at all levels of change. All assumption must be confronted and must be checked against the current scenarios if they are applicable. All the assumptions must be checked against the evidences and must be characterized and prioritized (Kotter, 1996).
The managers must make a clear distinction between their ends and the means they would achieve those ends. The ends must be clearly identified and the means and methods of achieving those ends must be done when ends are assessed and are understood. Change brings about resistance, and at this stage, managers must identify the means to handle the resistance and the consequences of the resistance (Kotter, 1996). All levels of the planning process must be utilized in strategic thinking when establishing change in any organization or at stage of organizational life. These levels are mega level, macro level and micro level.
At all levels of organizational change and planning process a holistic approach should be employed and used. This would help the managers understand what change would consequently which part of the system and sub system. Interaction amongst those systems would clear away the hurdles that could come in the process of change, and better ideas come up to eradicate and overcome those barriers. Relationships should be established in strategic thinking to understand that the organization is not a stand alone entity but is well connected with the outside world (Sanders, 1998).
Measurable objectives must be set so that they are evaluated at a later stage of change and when the change is needed to be sustained, the specific changes can be managed well if there is a slight disorder in them. Indistinguishable and ambiguous objectives should not be adhered to and should not be taken into account. Status quo must not be challenged but a change should be with in the status quo and achievable at all levels of the organization. The pros and cons must be measured.
If the success of that particular change is made measurable then the failure and damages of that particular change should also be made measurable (Kotter, 1996). Ideal vision, even though difficult to achieve, always provides the possibilities that can be present to lead to that particular ideal vision. This is the basis of strategic thinking. Continuous improvement and incessant change is the key to organization’s success. Both amalgamated give a perfect strategy to come about a successful change action with minimized resistance and better results (Sanders, 1998).