Today’s topic is Strategic Thinking. Or, rather the lack thereof. We live (and communicate) in the IMMEDIATE, and, frankly, that’s not so good for THINKING. Our Puritan DNA makes us believe that if we are not DOING something or RESPONDING immediately at all times, then we are not working. We don’t seem to realize that thinking is critical to business success. Especially long-term strategic thinking.
We live in such a sound bite society, but sometimes we need to simply STOP and think about the best answer before we hurry to deliver any old, quick answer. Many things are complex and require significant thought and study before formulating answers and next steps.
I watch how people work and see that many of you try to work while monitoring (and often immediately responding to) your social media channels, emails, texts and other communications disruptions. It’s time to break that habit!
Strategic thinking demands total and uninterrupted focus. Without that focus, we often get sloppy and fail to find those perfect solutions for those complex problems or opportunities.
When I need to work on a complex issue or need to think strategically about my business or a part of my business, I simply TURN OFF all disruptive electronics (including my cell phone) so that I can concentrate totally on the task at hand. If I know this effort may take several hours, then I let my staff (and sometimes even my clients) know in advance that I will be unavailable for a period of time.
Long-term strategic planning often requires sequential thinking and that kind of thinking requires continuity and quiet. And, scheduling. That’s right, you have to actually schedule time to think about your business strategically. I do this each and every Monday from 9 – 10 AM. It allows me to make sure that the tasks I have assigned to myself (and others) for that week are really the things that are going to move our business forward. Then, I talk to each of our staff about the priorities for their week.
So, make it a point to schedule time for strategic thinking each week and to turn off your electronic devices and spend QUALITY time thinking about your business.