Strategic thinking is a matter for high performance teams

Strategic thinking processes are too often surrounded by an aura of elitism and superiority compared to other more tactical or operational business processes that do not enjoy such prestige. In fact, this is the weak point of any strategy, its conception and birth.

Furthermore, beyond this apparent prestige, the voice of the market is also omitted and not considered. Who better than those to whom we are going to sell our product to help us improve and build the future of our organization?

We referred in the title to the importance of teams. We will now add that they are teams with purpose. Without purpose, understood as the reason for the company’s existence, no strategic thinking is possible and, of course, there is no basis for defining the mission and vision. The corporate purpose is the beginning of everything, the unifying element of any high-performance team. And strategic thinking processes must be carried out by teams whose analysis and validation schemes include the customer.

The work mechanics of any high-performance team should follow two work routines: visioning to generate a greater perimeter of reflection and not fall into the same routines and conclusions as always; and secondly, planning a process of implementation and support in the development of the designed strategy

Increasing the perimeter of reflection includes deconstructing the current business model from the external viewpoint and from the introduction of uncertainty. Through this exercise, we will be able to obtain hypotheses and question the essential components of the model, thus creating a starting point for the beginning of the construction of the strategic plan. From this point on, competitive scenarios are not created in the present but projected into the future. We are obliged to imagine what our organization should be like and how it would perform in situations that would force it to make transcendental decisions.

For this whole process we recommend applying the following four rules:

  1. Why think about a long-term plan, if our environment is changing and unstable? It is better to be aware of our inability to design the best strategy at the first attempt and to conceive the strategic thinking process as an itinerary that turns, bifurcates, rises and falls according to the changes that occur in our competitive and social environment.
  2. Use the critical capacity of the team. Create forums to share points of view, empathize with each one’s day-to-day life, and learn about the difficulties that each manager encounters in strategic deployment.
  3. Forget about grand ambitions and go “game by game”. Strategies have gone from being pharaonic works conceived to last forever, to become ephemeral, chameleon-like and malleable entities. Long-term grand plans have the same possibility of being erroneous as short- term strategies, but with the disadvantage of mortgaging many more resources and ending up in a dead end. 
  4. Work with a broad perspective and with flexible and reallocatable budgets according to future competitive scenarios. Allocating budget items based on historical inertia is like tying your hands inside a moving vehicle and expecting the road to always be straight.

If we had to define in a generalized way which teams it would be advisable to create for strategic thinking, we would certainly recommend the for-mation of the following five:

  1. Customer team: Identify the typology of customers and create micro-segmented targets on which to direct the new strategy to quantify the size of the available market and the feasibility of the proposed objective.
  2. Experience team: Design an experience that responds to the needs of the segments with the greatest potential for the business and adapt the current channels to this experience.
  3. Product team: Evolve the product portfolio by identifying new product opportunities arising from the evolution of the current customer portfolio or new unexplored markets.
  4. Process team (business intelligence): Develop a “data first” vision to generate efficient processes that support change.
  5. Resource team: Develop capabilities and allocate resources to enable efficient implementation of the plan.

Ultimately, what we are pursuing is the creation of opportunities for our company, understanding that these opportunities are the new value propositions that will respond to the needs of our customers in future scenarios. Questioning the vision and mission again and from the purpose during this process, will give us the path of change to successfully complete the reflection process.