Thursday, April 14, 2016

“Digital Valley” Book Preview Chapter 2: Strategic Wisdom

A strategic thinker always “keeps the end in mind.”

Strategic Thinking is the ability to think on a temporal plane: where you are, where you want to be, identify gaps, and take alternate approaches to anticipate and provide solutions. It’s the wisdom because the strategy is often the guide and roadmap to navigate us toward the right direction, making decisions directly towards achieving defined outcomes as a purposive activity, so it is the “Keep the end in mind” thought process and multidimensional intelligence. The leaders or digital professionals with strategic wisdom would have a clear vision to pursue, the courage to step into the uncharted water, the well thought out plans to adapt to changes and have their perseverance to keep a laser focus. It is the application of knowledge and intelligence to solve problems with long term perspectives.

Multidimensional Intelligence:  A strategic mind is contextual, that awareness of a larger organizational context is valuable, the power of context is in the ways you can change the factors that create a context. There are two schools of thought about the strategic process: the blending of emergent and deliberate strategies. For complex problem solving or strategy making, understanding context is often the first and important step in understanding, without it, you are working without any boundaries, or basis for understanding what you are doing. Critical Thinking is also a crucial element in Strategic Thinking. Generally speaking, strategist have a clear vision, they master at both Critical Thinking and holistic thinking, and they also have creativity to come out the alternative solutions to the old problems, They are the one who can set the right priority, follow the set of principles such as simplicity, but also keep learning agile to adapt to changes in the rapidly changing digital dynamic. The strategy isn’t just about making decisions. It is about getting the best information you can, continuously update. It’s about uncovering all the options, evaluating the long-term, not just the immediate goals, and building about agility and flexibility.

Leveraging“Simplexity” in strategy crafting: Digital organizations are complex systems that are dynamic, self-evolving, and self-perpetuating. The fact is that change is happening at a much faster pace than ever before, requiring a much more rapid response in order to survive and thrive. And the degree of Strategic Planning has a correlation with degree of uncertainty and unpredictability. The real challenge is not in simplifying by ignoring the complications, but to simplify by including the compilations. Understanding the dynamics, working to influence the dynamics and shaping a good digital strategy takes attention and energy. The strategic process is important, at best, it keeps you on track and achieve desired outcome and at worst, it helps in minimizing the pain or loss. So the challenge is to evaluate the dynamic business in order to decide on, take simple actions and monitor the outcomes. Good Strategic Thinking is temporal in nature, it looks beyond the immediate causal relationships to the more difficult second and third order effects of changes to organizations’ operating in open systems. Stretching the mind then to explore what is plausible, possible and probable can provide the insights of exploring these alternatives, and the business can be better positioned to act when the unexpected occurs.

Being different and making choices: Strategy is about being different and is about making choices. The purpose of the strategy is the creation of competitive advantage. It is an intellectual endeavor, or thinking and designing process, to come up with the best positioning and execution forces that would be most advantages to accomplish the respectively set goals, objectives, and business visions. A strategy is the direction and scope of an organization over the long-term, which gains competency for the organization through its configuration of resources within a changing environment in order to fulfill stakeholder’s expectations. A strategy is a choice that constrains subsequent decisions. It is all about making actionable plans for people with a cognitive difference, to work in harmony around common understanding and agreed on plans. Business strategy requires an intelligent mix of both Deliberate Strategy (Top-down) and Emergent Strategy (Bottom-Up), also making a strategic learning process as feedback to intended strategy. And the business strategy is responsible for putting the enterprise in the right place, at the right time, with the right means and partners so as to the right kind of results.

Being able to think strategically is a “hard” skill that not everyone has. Statistically, only 5% of the population is nature strategic thinker. Given that, the importance of diversity and formulating a team that has complementing skills can not be understated. A forward-thinking organization needs people, especially leaders with strategic wisdom who can turn that Strategic Thinking into reality.  Strategic Thinking is the skill that most can learning, but it can not be taught, which explains why so many strategic plans are poorly designed and carried out. Companies that encourage Strategic Thinking as an ongoing pursuit are more nimble, adaptive and quicker to capitalize on opportunities, also focus on long-term prosperity.


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