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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Who Should Think Strategically?

People ask me frequently about who should be thinking strategically in business. My perspective is that the best businesses cultivate some strategic thinking skills in all employees. While that idea’s frequently received skeptically, it comes from the view that strategic thinking is about “addressing things that matter with insight and innovation.”

The definition suggests that strategic thinking is about applying knowledge, good judgment, and a creative perspective within one’s job functions and scope. It clearly doesn’t mean that strategic thinking is only limited to senior managers setting a company’s overall direction.

So while not everyone’s involved in corporate strategy, a broad group of employees should be tapped into strategic thinking. In that way, they can evaluate their activities against “what matters” when the rules aren’t working.

That requires information sharing with employees and education on what’s important to the business, how they contribute to that, and the parameters for them to exercise judgment in assessing what matters. It’s certainly not easy, but it should contribute to better performance and customer experiences.

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