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Strategic Thinker Essay

After reading through, the tactical planner and logistician. I would consider myself to be a strategic thinker. Strategy has never been more challenging, or more important, than in today’s environment of global competition, in which, corporate strategies must transcend the borders of nations and markets. Too many organizations try to be everything to everyone, wasting resources in markets that may never provide a worthwhile return on investment. What is strategic thinker?

The ability to come up with effective plans in line with an organization’s objectives within a particular economic situation. Strategic thinking helps business managers review policy issues, perform long term planning, set goals and determine priorities, and identify potential risks and opportunities. Systems perspective; being able to understand implications of strategic actions. “A strategic thinker always have a mental model of the complete end-to-end system of value creation, his or her role within it, and an understanding of the competencies it contains. Intent focused; more determined and less distractible than rivals in the marketplace. Crediting Hamel and Prahalad with popularizing the concept, Liedtka describes strategic intent as “the focus that allows individuals within an organization to marshal and leverage their energy, to focus attention, to resist distraction, and to concentrate for as long as it takes to achieve a goal.

Thinking in time means being able to hold past, present and future in mind at the same time to create better decision making and speed implementation. “Strategy is not driven by future intent alone. It is the gap between today’s reality and intent for the future that is critical.” Scenario planning is a practical application for incorporating “thinking in time” into strategy making. Hypothesis driven, ensuring that both creative and critical thinking are incorporated into strategy making. This competency explicitly incorporates the scientific method into strategic thinking. Intelligent opportunism; which means being responsive to good opportunities. “The dilemma involved in using a well-articulated strategy to channel organizational efforts effectively and efficiently must always be balanced against the risks of losing sight of alternative strategies better suited to a changing environment. There are two types of strategic approach:

Emergent Strategy: Emergent strategy, on the other hand, is characterized by recursive learning loops, as an organization sets about on a course and then senses and reacts to opportunities that may not have been recognized at the onset. Deliberate Strategy: Deliberate strategy is process driven. Traditional calls for “strategic planning” indicate a desire for an analytic and somewhat linear approach to strategy.

Importance of a strategic thinker
The purpose of Strategic Thinking is to create a strategy that is a coherent, unifying, integrative framework for decisions especially about direction of the business and resource utilization. To do it, Strategic Thinking uses internal and external data, qualitative synthesis of opinions and perceptions. It is conscious, explicit, and proactive and defines competitive domain for corporate strategic advantage. Strategy is a key outcome of a relevant strategic thinking process. Tregoe and Zimmerman outlined the relationship between strategy and operations in their work on strategy, “Top Management Strategy: What It Is and How To Make It Work” Strategic Decisions:

The object of strategy is to bring about advantageous conditions within which action will occur. In the military context, this means positioning forces for best advantage and judging precisely the right moment to attack or withdraw. Strategic decisions prior to D-Day in 1944, for example, included setting the day and time of the invasion of the European mainland as well as the choice of battleground. The campaign and each battle were conducted within the boundaries of space and time as set forth by strategy. Once strategy is determined, second tier or operational decisions can be made in the proper context. By definition, operational decisions are those that pertain to the broad execution of strategy. In the realm of business, operational planning is usually conducted with a one-year time horizon, fitting into the context of a longer-range strategic plan. In the military, endeavors resulting from operational decisions are often called campaigns.

A campaign is a series of military operations or battles carried out over a large geographical area—such as WWII Normandy—in order to achieve a large-scale objective during a war. The operational plans for D-Day, for example, set the stage for landing hundreds of thousands of men and significant amounts of equipment and materials on five Normandy-area beaches as part of the overall strategy for taking back France and ending the war in Europe. Other famous military campaigns include Sherman’s march through the Civil War South, Napoleon’s incursion into Russia, and Schwarzkopf’s Desert Storm conflict in Iraq. The Vietnam War presents an excellent example of tactical and operational success but strategic failure. Shortly after the war, a victorious North Vietnamese general was approached by an American general in a diplomatic setting. “You know,” said the American, “you never beat us on the battlefield.”

Pondering the comment for a moment, the Vietnamese general replied, “That may be so. But it is also irrelevant.” Indeed, history shows that the American military never lost a significant battle in Vietnam. The war was lost, though, at the strategic level. The mission of the United States drifted to the point that merely finding a way out was considered a successful outcome. Napoleon once said that “in war, the moral is to the material as three to one.” With every material advantage possible, America did not have the strategic consensus—or the will—necessary to accomplish a military victory.

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