Unveiling the Power of Strategic Thinking

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By Raúl Molteni

Recently, I was involved in crafting a strategic plan for a crucial division of a large multinational company. Our objective was clear: gather information, conduct the strategic planning process, and have an experienced coordinator onboard. Although we didn’t strictly follow the agenda, we managed to meet it and deliver a final plan to the organization’s leader.

Throughout this process, we analyzed indicators, established the Mission and Vision, conducted a SWOT analysis, and agreed upon concrete actions for implementation. However, I must admit, from my perspective, it lacked true strategic thinking.

The disparity between a strategic planning process and strategic thinking is significant. Without genuine strategic focus, planning resembles a roadmap that underestimates the future and essential cultural aspects.

Strategy involves a vision for the future, differentiation, prioritization, creativity, and, to some extent, even a touch of magic.

Thinking strategically goes beyond devising a simple plan; it involves the ability to envision the future innovatively.

Here are some distinctions I’ve observed in those with truly strategic thinking:

  • Taking into account the ecosystem: In the digital age, entry barriers have significantly decreased. Focusing solely on direct competition is risky; competitors may emerge from other sectors and industries with innovative and better proposals—though they may seem ludicrous to the less strategic eye.
  • Deep data analysis: SWOT isn’t just about opinions; it requires thorough analysis. It’s about narrowing down uncertainty, not just guessing. Data and expert opinion are crucial.
  • Consistency: Strategy should address coherence across all aspects of the value chain, resources, and the market. It’s not just a compilation of ideas, objectives, and plans—it’s an integration of perspectives, ideas, objectives, and plans.
  • Considering disruption: Is it about entering new markets with existing products or introducing new products in existing markets? They use concepts to guide their thinking. They don’t just go with what “comes to mind”; it “comes to mind” because they provoke their own thinking.
  • Surpassing resource limitations: Truly strategic approaches view resource limitations as challenges to overcome through mergers, strategic alliances, or other creative alternatives. They don’t see it as a limit to what they can do but as part of what must be done.
  • Encouraging experimentation and learning: Strategy requires time for questioning, reflecting, experimenting, and learning. Two days of intensive work are rarely enough to reach this depth and creativity.

Reflecting on the difference between mere strategic planning and true strategic thinking opens up space to rethink our approach to business challenges.

Strategy shouldn’t be limited to plan development but should drive an innovative and visionary mindset that inspires creativity and adaptability in a constantly changing world.

I invite you to consider how we can incorporate this broader strategic perspective into our organizations, allowing the true magic of strategy to transform our actions and results.

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