Wednesday, July 26, 2017

What Matters in Strategy

Photo by Minerva Studio / Shutterstock

Photo by Minerva Studio / Shutterstock

Rarely, it seems, do leaders or executives take the time to really think matters through today. Good judgment and deliberative strategic thinking is often eclipsed by trendy digital models of decision making that advocate determinations based on a “blink,” overconfidence, or committing resources on the basis of short-term emotion that later is seen as a poor choice.

Traditionally, what has mattered in strategy is a thorough situation analysis, clarity of overall purpose, a rigorous action plan that the combined executive team would agree to, and good judgment throughout. While winning may occasionally happen through chance, sustained success is always a function of brilliant strategy, careful planning, and disciplined execution.That level of thinking is not achieved without a judicious frame of mind that takes the time needed to think matters through, challenge assumptions, weigh conclusions, and draft written plans and purposes with disciplined forethought.

Many say such thinking is not possible in our rapidly changing world, but with reflection it seems questionable that planning and careful thought would be made obsolete by digital technology. When we slow down and model our thinking and our decision-making less on a web speed paradigm, we discover that what is often overlooked is the good judgment to plan and think carefully.

Until recently, the virtues of strategy, planning, and good judgment have been seen as essential tools of leadership, and as a way of thinking ahead toward a certain end that will end in success, whether in military action, good governance, or business leadership.

Complex problems require the wisdom of deliberative strategic thinking that is only gained through a studied perspective on a situation or a state of affairs. It is only reflective thought that results in real understanding and genuine insight into where we are, what we are up against, what we want to accomplish and why, and how we can get there.

Without this thinking we cannot understand the causality in a situation or make the subtle analytical distinctions that allow us to comprehend why things are the way they are and how they can be affected to bring about our purposes.

What is so often lacking in modern leadership is this thought-through part. Decisions too often lack careful deliberation and informed judgment. Today many leaders behave instinctually, “shoot from the hip,” lack true insight or wisdom, and thereby commit resources without really thinking.

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