It is important for any business leader to set goals for where he wants his business to be in the future. Strategic thinking will help you meet these goals through a process of developing your skills in creative problem solving and teamwork, as well as your critical thinking skills. To be a strategic thinker, you must be able to see the end result of your vision, and work backward from that point to where you are at the present; then build the correct road map to move forward.
Organization and Observation
To implement strategic thinking in business, you must first define what your organization needs to look like in order to meet your goals. Consider the work that must be accomplished and the skills that the ideal workers will have to do so. Observe who in your organization has these skills. If they are in other departments, you may be able to redeploy them into the places where you need them. Look at how you can find people with these skills from outside your company, or think about how to train the people within your organization to master new, necessary skills.
Strategic thinking requires you to look at business approaches through different views or lenses. When you look at your business through an environmental lens, you are considering how your business fits in to the community and how your business affects the places where it operates. Looking through a marketplace lens lets you consider how your suppliers and vendors affect what you do. The measurement lens focuses on how you will measure the performance of your business, or which metrics determine the overall health of the business.
The SWOT analysis
The strength, weakness, opportunity and threat analysis (SWOT) is a great exercise in strategic thinking. In this, you identify your business' or personal strengths, or what you do well. Equally important are the weaknesses, because you need to know what you don't do well and develop plans to remedy this. List your opportunities, or the best potential for future gains in your business, as well as the threats, or the things that can come from nowhere to derail your plans. This is a good exercise for plotting the strategy of your business.
Take the necessary time to write down the ideal position of your business. This is a type of goal setting, but it is more; it is not just the things you wish to accomplish with your business, but also how your business will look if all of the variables are the most favorable. Include the conditions necessary for your business to thrive. Also include the particular niche market that your business fills in its ideal condition. List the competencies and skills that you will need to get your business where it needs to be.