Planning For Strategic Thinking

example of using a mindmap in a strategic thin...
An article on strategic thinking appeared recently in the Financial Times with a few quotes from yours truly.  I thought I'd expand on the theme, as it's something I come across quite often when coaching businesses.

When you get stuck in the day-to-day running of work or your own business, it's difficult to find the time or allow yourself to find the time to think more strategically.  After all, you don't have enough time as it is.

However, it's important that you do take a step back every now and then to look at what you're doing and where you're going.  To get things back in perspective and look at the bigger picture - both at work and at home.

You can do this by actually planning your strategic thinking time.  Take time out once a month or every few months to just get away from your day-to-day business and think about your business strategy.  In the same way that you review your goals on a regular basis, this is an important part of business.

Book a meeting space away from the office environment, so you don't get distracted by email and the phone.  Switch off your mobile for the duration.  It only needs to be a couple of hours, half a day or even a full day if you want to go away with your management team.  It's sometimes helpful to work with a facilitator, coach or mentor for new ways of thinking and working or for an unbiased view.

On a smaller scale, you can take that step back each week - or when you need to.  Especially if you're feeling particularly overwhelmed, it helps if you can get a fresh perspective or look at the bigger picture every now and then instead of getting bogged down in the detail all the time.

Take time out - going for a walk/run is a great way to refresh your mind and take your mind off the immediate problem - which is then often free to come up with a solution when you're not focusing so hard on the problem.

Putting things in perspective also allows you to see the wood for the trees - you may also realise that some of the things you're worrying about or spending time on are not as important as others and once you see the bigger picture you can see where these things fit in ... or not.
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