How To Think Like a Strategist

I was inspired to write this web log by a question that first appeared on Quora which was ‘ How To Develop the Mind of a Strategist ? ’. occasionally as bloggers, we can share our perspective to help others plan their career. While this station may not be for everyone, I hope people thinking about roles in strategy find this useful .
I ’ ve been a strategist for over a decade. During this time I ’ ve worked in specific strategy roles, a well as other roles where I ’ ve used strategy skills acquired over time. I ’ ve studied scheme, been mentored by established strategists, and besides lectured in strategy .
The interview as it was written on Quora appealed because it reminds us scheme is besides about ‘ training the mind ’ ( or put another way, ‘ how we look at things ’ ) a much as it is about ‘ getting the subcontract done ’. here are six lessons on how to think like a strategist .

1. Understand the core strategy process

There are thousands of books on developing scheme. And there are thousands of strategic models. however, there is an essential action that is core to any strategic exercise, and that is :

  • gathering inputs and data
  • analysing this information
  • exploring possible futures
  • identifying (and evaluating) options for action
  • putting in place a plan for action

A previous lector of mine, Dr Joseph Voros, wrote about this march in ‘ The Generic Foresight Process ‘. I first gear read this paper many years ago and its concepts have stuck with me to this day. Almost every doubt that has been asked of me as a strategist, I have answered by starting with this process .

2. Build Your toolkit

Every strategist has acquired their own toolkit over the years. Mine blends potent strategic process with design think and collaborating with teams. This just happens be very well suited to the rapid growth of on-line opportunities and challenges faced by many businesses. I draw upon respective methods as region of this toolkit ( market analysis, feel reviews, desktop research, scenario planning, etc ) .
All strategists have toolkits that fit with their unique approach. No toolkit is the same. Each toolkit is developed overtime .
sol any your toolkit, start adding to it. even if this means trying methodologies you have not tried before. Within a few years you will have enough of methods and frameworks to leverage in your particular shape of strategy .

3. Develop A Skill In Understanding Drivers

Every strategy starts with a doubt. What marketplace should we enter ? Is this theme commercially feasible ? What would happen if we didn ’ triiodothyronine launching this product ?
sometimes you will be the one creditworthy for asking these questions. sometimes people will come to you with a motion, and you will help them to understand what their interview involves .
Because of this it ’ mho worth developing your ability to understand the drivers of businesses and teams. Some teams are motivated by creating commercial returns. Some teams are motivated by improving offerings for customers. Some teams want to create social good .
Whatever the motivation, if you understand what is driving a strategic doubt, you will besides be equipped to explore what is obscured by specific motivations .
For exercise, the person who wants to launch a product to generate commercial returns, may besides need help see what customers expect for the product to be truly attractive .

4. Be Curious

Strategists take pleasure in solving problems and exploring opportunities. They are curious at heart. And if they ’ re not curious to begin with, they train themselves to be.

I would not say I am naturally curious. But over the years I ’ ve memorize to enjoy being curious. I ’ ve learnt a great softwood because of that simple parole .
When teams say they need to figure out their 18 calendar month design, offer to help. When leaders tell you they have a hunch there is an opportunity in a new business idea, offer to flesh it out .
Being curious is fair one of the many reasons I started to write this web log .
curiosity is developed by knowing there are many things we don ’ t know, and venturing into the unknown with a sense of enjoyment to find out more. This is in the mind of the strategist .

5. Practice Visual Strategy

strategy is about helping people visualise possible futures for action, based on the attest they have at hand nowadays .
Because the future is intangible ( i. it can not be held in our hands like the present, or seen like a photograph shows us the past ), any means we can help others picture the future will benefit scheme .
ocular strategy is an essential competence for the adjacent era of strategists. Whether this is whiteboarding respective pathways for action or creating rich pictures of scenarios, the art of making scheme ocular is a competence gaining increasing value .
Dan Roam ’ s book the ‘ The Back of the Napkin : Solving Problems and Selling Ideas with Pictures ‘ is a good example of how to develop skills in this area .

6. Connect Challenges and Opportunities with Commercial Outcomes

Learning all of the skills above will make you a good strategist. I ’ ve known many good strategists that posses these skills.

If you wish to become a strategist in commercial enterprise, this last lesson is what makes a lead strategist .
Any challenge or opportunity can be linked to a commercial result. If you can connect questions with commercial outcomes ( whether they be veto or positive ) you will not be just a dear strategist…you will be a capital strategist .
With the complex and accelerating issues and opportunities present in the worldly concern today, we surely need cutting strategists and thinkers. Whether you wish to draw upon scheme skills as partially of your casual employment, or develop a career in strategy, I wish you the best of success .

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Category : Knowledge

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