Five Elements Of Thinking Strategically Essay

Five Elements Of Thinking Strategically Essay

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Five Elements of Thinking Strategically

Intent focused
A systems perspective
Thinking in Time
Intelligent Opportunism
Hypothesis-driven

These are the five elements that make up strategic thinking as described by Dr. Jeanne M. Liedtka, a faculty member at the University of Virginia 's Darden Graduate School of Business and former chief learning officer at United Technologies Corporation.

I 've never met Dr. Liedtka, but I 'm madly in love with her elements of strategic thinking.

One of the frustrations I 've had with most of the definitions of strategic planning is that rarely is the concept "strategic" or "strategic thinking" well-defined. (I feel the same way about the use of the term "policies" which is why I 'm drawn to the framework for policy creation as espoused by PolicyGovernance (R) guru John Carver)

In many definitions, strategic planning is defined as a process that employs "strategic thinking" or "strategies." I guess the definers believe everyone inherently knows strategy when they see it. If only that were so.

I learned a great word in school many years ago: "tautology." No it 's not a fish (that 's a tautog).

A tautology is an explanation that uses the same or similar terms to explain what it means, like calling strategic planning a planning process that creates strategies.

Maybe Dr. Liedtka was also frustrated by these definitions. Her wonderful article helpfully explains what it meant to think strategically.

So what are these five essential elements of strategic thinking that she identified?

1. Intent focused

Dr. Liedtka says: "Strategic intent provides the focus that allows individuals within an organization to marshal and leverage their energy, to focus attention, to resist distraction, and to concen...


... middle of paper ...


...d react to great new opportunities as they arise. They understand that the world is dynamic and they are open to change to reach their vision.

Intelligent opportunism also implies that you dig deep into your organization to hear from many perspectives. Ideas and knowledge are valuable wherever they exist -- but you 'll need to look and listen to benefit from them.

5. Hypothesis driven

Finally, Dr. Liedtka says, "strategic thinking mirrors the scientific method... it is both creative and critical in nature."

As strategic thinkers, we create hypothesis, those questions that start "What if...?" or "If... then?" -- questions that enable us to imagine multiple scenarios, analyze them as best we can based on the knowledge we 've accumulated and then test the best hypotheses (experiment). As we act, we learn from our experience to create new hypothesis for future action.

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