Strategic thinking for Leaders

Most of us have heard the term working ‘ON’ the business. Most of us however simply work ‘IN’ it. Even owners and leaders spend either all their time or the vast majority of it doing the ‘day job’.

This is fine of course, for most of the time.  But many leaders find themselves focusing entirely on the day to day, on the tactical, and on the current issues.  They often spend too much time ‘doing the doing’, and not enough time leading and enabling the organisation to flourish for the long term.

The term working ‘on’ the business simply means spending some time ‘stepping back’, making sure you can see the wood for the trees, and asking yourself some key questions.

It involves thinking in a different way; it often needs collaboration between different individuals and teams, and it will probably involve ‘looking into the future’.

It will require research and building a new understanding, setting goals and destinations, and problem-solving.

It may involve working on projects that cost money and don’t deliver anything in the short or even medium term, and that may even affect short-term profits.

In great businesses, strategic thinking is not done instead of the day job, its done as well as…


So why don’t more people practise strategic thinking?

There are of course many great businesses that have got it right. Their leaders balance their focus on the day to day, with sufficient and regular periods of strategic thinking and action.

They assess where the business is now and where it is or could be going, and implement actions that are in part about the longer term.

Most businesses though, and especially SMEs, do not think or act sufficiently strategically.

Many of these businesses are essentially successful and profitable, so what’s the problem?

Well in the short term, maybe nothing.  But we all know how quickly the world is changing and in a nutshell, all sustainably successful business have to move with the times.

There are just too many examples of businesses losing their market position, stalling, getting into debt or worst still, ceasing trading.  Many of these were household names, once titans in their industry, successful and profitable.

Whilst there are many reasons for this, many of them can be traced back to a lack of research, understanding, reflection, vision, bravery and much more, and simply too much ‘head down’ and focus on the here and now to see what may be coming down the track.

Equally, there are many businesses that are successful, that could be much more so if the leaders had spent sufficient time thinking and acting more strategically.


Why Is There A Lack Of Strategic Thinking?

This boils down to a handful of reasons.  It could be that the leaders of the business have just not realised that this is what is needed, as they are in the short term ‘successful’.

Or it could be that they are just too comfortable and successful enough, so they don’t recognise there may be a future issue.

For many, it will be a time problem or a perceived time issue.  Leaders and owners who are doing too much doing are probably creating in part the problem for themselves.  A lack of delegation, a lack of internal discipline and structure often means they do too much firefighting.

However, the biggest gap we find is a lack of confidence and capability; essentially “HOW’ do we think and act more strategically?

Whilst there are some people who are natural strategic and bigger picture thinkers, and there are many people who are detailed and ‘here and now’ thinkers, most people can be ‘taught’ to think and act more strategically.

How can PDW Group help?

We can tailor a training and/or a support solution to suit the exact needs of your organisation.

This can involve a variety of mechanisms and approaches, and can focus exclusively on the development of your leaders, or can include an element of implementing new disciplines in your business.

We can help you diagnose where the gaps and issues may lie, and then recommend the action to take.  Or we can simply implement a plan if you already have clarity on what you want to do.

We have a proven methodology with all this type of work which you can see here.

strategic-thinking

Our work in this area typically involves one or more of the following components:

  • Assist in the conducting of a strategic review of your business. This usually forms part of our ‘business advisory’ service
  • Facilitating strategic thinking training workshops for groups of leaders to help them understand what it is, why it’s important and how to do it
  • Running 1:1 coaching sessions with individual leaders to help them build strategic thinking capability which can be implemented in their own business as required
  • Providing tools, templates and processes to support more regular and effective strategic thinking and business planning activities
  • Facilitating board or leadership sessions and guiding the strategic thinking and action process of actually working ‘on’ the business with key stakeholders. This is often referred to as a strategic away day.

Testimonial

Here’s what Go Outdoors had to say about PDW

“Good structure, very well facilitated and the combination of project and personal skills training meant that it was easy to see how the personal skills could be practically applied”

Richard Cheatham, Project Manager

Whatever assistance you feel you need to improve and embed this critical area in your business, let us know how we can help.

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I often hear myself say “Great opportunity to use your PDW skills” – or, in shorthand, just “PDW!” This has been the most effective training I have done in my career – and to call it training downplays it.

Vicky Sandry General Counsel
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Particularly good feedback from the team on all the practise sessions as this really brings the theory to life – and a great team helping to do that.

Steve Howarth CEO
quote-icon

Good structure, very well facilitated and the combination of project and personal skills training meant that it was easy to see how the personal skills could be practically applied.

Richard Cheatham Project Manager
quote-icon

I often hear myself say “Great opportunity to use your PDW skills” – or, in shorthand, just “PDW!” This has been the most effective training I have done in my career – and to call it training downplays it.

Vicky Sandry General Counsel
quote-icon

Particularly good feedback from the team on all the practise sessions as this really brings the theory to life – and a great team helping to do that.

Steve Howarth CEO
quote-icon

Good structure, very well facilitated and the combination of project and personal skills training meant that it was easy to see how the personal skills could be practically applied.

Richard Cheatham Project Manager

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Connect with PDW Group today for expert solutions tailored to your needs. Providing innovative strategies, our team is dedicated to your success.

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