This defers from strategic planning which focuses on following preprogrammed rules. Strategic thinking focuses on the strategy. The question Is how managers should organize their thinking to achieve a successful strategic reasoning process. The ability to think strategically, Is crucial to remaining competitive In an increasingly turbulent and global environment. Campbell and Alexander(1 997) came up with an approach to strategic thinking.

They delineate three elements; (1 ) Insight Into operating Issues: with benchmarking other organizations, process re-engineering and total quality management organizations would look for opportunities to Increase continuously the way they do things, (2) future gazing: exponents of chaos theory warn of the need always to be ready for the unexpected and unpredictable, therefore, the emphasis is on discontinuous change and the idea of reinventing and hence controlling developments in the industry.

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That is, establishing new rules of competition and seizing the high ground ahead of any rivals, (3) behavior and culture: without a clear and communicated vision and look for change opportunities, strategic thinking will be very limited and unimaginative. Strategic reasoning is meant to deal with strategic problems. Strategic problems are set of circumstances requiring a reconsideration of the current course of action, either to profit from observed opportunities or to respond to perceived threats. To deal with strategic problems managers should not only think but also go through a strategic reasoning process.

Managers must structure their individual thinking steps into a reasoning process that will result in strategic behavior. Built into Peter Trucker pattern of thinking are three techniques that he used to consider almost every problem. These techniques are: (1) Ask penetrating questions of people who understand current and future realities so they can generate and evaluate a creative set of Strategic options. (2) Airframe and simplify to enable review and adjustment Trucker masterfully used reframing and stating the essence of an issue simply to increase Management understands insight and clarity of strategic thinking. 3) Consider alternative assumptions and probe implications to think about a firm’s future, Trucker insisted that organizations must learn to cultivate dissent and manage it constructively. Perspectives of strategic thinking There are strategists who argue that strategic thinking is one of the most advanced forms of analytical reasoning, requiring the consistent and rigorous use of logic. This is the rational reasoning perspective. Other strategists argue that the essence of strategic thinking is the ability to break through orthodox beliefs, requiring the use of creativity.

This is the generative thinking perspective. Rational thinking perspective Strategies employing this perspective argue that strategic thinking is predominantly a logical activity. To deal with strategic problems the strategists must consciously and thoroughly analyze the problem situation. Data must be gathered on all developments external to the organization and this data is used to identify the opportunities and threats in the organization’s environment. The organization should also identify its strengths and weaknesses so as to establish which resources are available.

Once the problem has been defined, several alternative strategies are developed. These are screened and evaluated on a number of critter ( consistency, consonance, advantage, feasibility, potential return and risks). The best strategy is chosen based on the scores and the level of risk the strategist is willing to take. Strategists must be rigorously coexistence and objectively work through huge amounts of data, interpreting and combining findings to arrive at the proper picture of the current problem situation. Possible solutions require critical appraisal and all possible contingencies must be logically thought through.

Rationality is limited by incomplete information and imperfect cognitive facilities. Strategists try to be as coexistent and rigorous as possible in their analysis and calculations, however, they Anton know everything and their conclusions are not perfect. Even with the most advanced forecasting techniques, state of the art market research, test marketing, scenario analysis, net present value calculations, not all developments can be foreseen, some trends can be missed and some selected strategies can turn out to be failures. Rational strategists improvise to make up for lack of information, however they do this logically.

Inferences and speculations are made based on the known facts. By making assumptions and stating the facts and argument from which the conclusions nave Eden Dates. General milking perspective Strategists taking this perspective argue that the heavy emphasis placed on rationality can stifle creativity, while creativity is essential for generating new ways of defining problems and innovative solutions. Proponents of the generative perspective argue that strategists should not be caught up in rational approaches to strategic thinking, but should nurture creativity as their primary cognitive assets.

The strategic thinking perspective is based on the assumption that strategic problems are wicked. It is believed that strategic problems cannot be easily and objectively determined, UT they are open to interpretation from a limitless variety of angles. The same is true for the possible solutions, there is no fixed set of problem solutions from which the strategist must select the best one. Defining and solving strategic problems, it is believed, is fundamentally a creative activity. Problem definitions are highly subjective and three are no fixed solution sets.

It is therefore impossible to identify the problem and calculate an optimal solution. Opportunities and threats do not exist, a situation can be viewed as an opportunity and certain factors can be seen as heartening if not approached properly. Strengths and weaknesses cannot be objectively determined, a company characteristic can be employed as a strength and can also turn a unique company quality into a weakness by lack of a vision. Therefore SOOT analysis has little to do with logical analysis, but in reality is nothing less than a creative interpretation of a problem situation.

To find innovative ways of defining and solving problems it is imperative that strategists think creatively, they must use imagination which is not logical. Strategists must be willing to leave the intellectual safety of generally accepted concepts to explore new ideas , guided belittle else than their intuition. Many of their methods such as brainstorming, experimental, openness to intuition, and the use of metaphors, contradictions and paradoxes are directly applicable to developing strategy.

Consequently, the best preparation for strategic thinking is to be trained in the artistic tradition of creativity and mental flexibility. A model of elements of strategic thinking Littered (1998) defined strategic thinking as a particular way of thinking, with specific attributes System perspective Enables individuals to clarify their role within the larger system and the impact of their behavior on other parts of the system as well as on the final outcome. This approach addresses not only the fit between the corporate, business, and functional levels of strategy but also the personal levee.

From a vertical positive, strategic thinkers see the linkage in the system from multiple perspective and understand the relationship among corporate, business and functional levels of strategy to the external context as well as to the personal daily choices the make. From a horizontal respective, they also understand the connection across departments and functions and between suppliers and buyers. Intent focused Strategic intent provides the focus that allows individual within an organization to Marshall and leverage their energy, to focus attention, to resist destruction and to concentrate as long as it takes to achieve a goal.

Intelligent opportunities Intent focused ensures the energy in the organization, during the disorienting swirl of change, is utilized to identify opportunities and to come up with intelligent ways of exploring tense opportunities to Detente ten organization. I milking In time As strategy is not solely driven by the future, but by the gap between the current reality and the intent for the future, by connecting the past to the present and linking this to the future. Hypothesis driven This is the final element of strategic thinking and it mirrors the scientific method. It deals with hypothesis generating and testing as central activities.

Strategic thinking is both creative and critical in nature. Levels of strategic thinking Strategic thinking manifests itself at two different levels; the individual level and the organizational level. This approach integrates the micro domain’s focus on individual and groups with the macro domain’s focus on organization and their context. Strategic Thinking at the Individual Level Strategic thinking at the individual level comprises three main elements: A holistic understanding of the organization and its environment; Creativity; A vision for the future of the organization.

The organizational level provides the context in which individual strategic thinking can occur. Organization need to create the structures, processes and systems that: Foster ongoing strategic dialogue among the top team; Take advantage of the ingenuity and creativity of every individual employee. The strategic thinking process Strategic Thinking is the combination of Innovation, Strategy Planning, and Operational Planning. The process begins with Innovation. We try to create the ideal future and consider the plans needed to achieve them and to see them through.

Innovation helps organizations to move outside their comfort zone into the possibilities of exceeding customer and organizational requirements and expectations. Innovations are then articulated into a series of strategies. This is a part of the entire Strategic Planning process. However, in Strategic Thinking, the organization incorporates the needs of its customers, the organization and staff in the process. Benchmarking is incorporated to ensure that industry best practices are included in the vision of the future.

Employee Involvement at each stage of the Strategic Thinking process is key to ensuring that they stay involved in the execution of the Operational plans. This is where Operational Planning comes to play. It is the process of taking the strategies (the outcomes of the Strategic Planning process) and developing them into action Lana that are achievable and involve staff throughout the organization in ensuring that the needs of the customer and the organization are met. I en last part AT strategic I milking Is Measurement.

I nerve must De an on-going process of measuring the effectiveness of the plans and verifying that they are implemented as planned. Measurement is also used to benchmark the original needs against the implemented actions. To successfully implement strategic change, initiated through the strategic thinking process, it is important for all levels of employees to fully incorporate the change in everything they do. This is done by identifying and establishing Values and Principles to ensure the organization is successful at achieving its strategic goals.