Strategic thinking by yourself is nice—but oftentimes, your goals can't be accomplished alone. You need buy in and support from your boss, team members, and employees. Here's how to cultivate that.
- Strategic thinking by yourself is nice, but oftentimes your goals can't be accomplished alone. You need buy-in and support from your boss, your colleagues and your employees. Here are three ways to cultivate that. First, if you're developing a strategy, do not unveil it at the strategy meeting. That might sound counterintuitive, but the savviest professionals understand that meetings in which strategies are presented are actually ratification meetings. The real work takes place beforehand, systematically briefing key people to get their input and feedback, and addressing any concerns they might have up front.
You absolutely do not want to share your lovingly crafted strategy for the first time and have it torpedoed because your boss has a knee-jerk reaction against it, or some key player misinterprets an aspect of it and goes ballistic, or because someone springs a question on you that you hadn't thought through. Save yourself that self-destructive agony and engage in a campaign of premeetings with anyone whose blessing you need to make something work and bring them into the process.
That makes it far more likely they'll be favorable toward it, or at least, less unhappy. It's also important when you're mapping out your strategy to identify objections that people are likely to have and create detailed responses. If you set aside time to brainstorm, you can probably come up with 90% of the objections people are going to throw at you. There's no excuse for being unprepared. For instance, let's say you want to launch a new product. You estimate it'll bring in 10 million dollars the first year, great. But you can easily imagine a skeptic might question at how you arrived at that number, so you want to have a detailed explanation ready, showing not just how you arrived at the number, but why your figures are actually on the conservative side.
You'll also want to prepare to face objectors, meaning, individuals who feel particularly threatened by your proposal. For instance, if you're suggesting that marketing should take over a function that sales has always held, there's probably going to be some blowback over the perceived loss of control. But if you're aware that's coming your way, perhaps you can make other concessions that would soften the blow or somehow make the arrangement more palatable. You may never win them over completely if you're stepping on their turf, but if you can at least turn the volume down from nuclear to dissatisfied, that's a win.
Finally, you'll want to put in place a system to maintain accountability with your team. At a basic level, that might look like sending around an email after every meeting with a recap of what was agreed on and who's doing what. At a macro level, it means reiterating frequently what your timeline is, what the markers are on the path to that timeline and ensuring there is no slippage along the way. The goal of strategic thinking isn't really thinking, it's accomplishing your strategy, and to do that effectively, almost always, you'll need to bring your team on board.
- Embracing the strategic mindset
- Making time
- Learning from the past
- Getting details right
- Strategic thinking with a team
- Measuring success