What is a good strategic thinking assessment

Strategic thought process

Learning strategy also means learning to think strategically. Here are examples of the thought process itself: You should not only acquire strategic knowledge, but also how to apply it specifically.

What is special about a strategic thought process?

There are several aspects of strategy development that we should look at in terms of thought methods. Let us consider four examples:

  • First of all, thinking about better strategies is in most cases aimed at a long time horizon, lifted out of everyday life
  • Furthermore, strategic thinking is a creative process that requires skillful handling of mistakes and wrong turns
  • Third, strategic considerations are often very abstract
  • Fourthly, the foundation of strategic considerations, the analysis of the current situation, needs special objectivity

1. Long term

Children of four years of age already know about decisions that will have consequences for a hundred years. Nevertheless, our thoughts revolve almost exclusively around very short-term and spatially obvious things. We find it difficult to break out of this short-term nature.

Nevertheless, the easiest way to approach the long-term perspective is: We simply remove thinking about strategy from everyday life. A strategy weekend in a seminar hotel in the country, if possible with a wide view, is a good example of this. Discussions and thought processes are given a special consecration through special circumstances.

There are of course also technical tools, such as horizon planning or trend diagrams, but the long term is a matter of awareness. The change of environment brings more.

2. Dealing with wrong turns and mistakes

When it comes to strategic considerations, it is not the case that one constantly miscalculates or fails to observe any rules. But mistakes and wrong turns are not only part of such a thinking process. You should really plan for it. Please read more about a "versioned approach" with organized feedback in our thinking method section and then come back here.

Who gives the feedback?

Not everyone has a "wiser" person to ask for advice. But that doesn't have to be the case either. Almost everyone has seen many times trying to explain a problem to someone and finding the solution before the listener could answer. In this respect, even a diary has a kind of feedback function.

Strategic insights are expected above all from those in the company who no longer have a boss above themselves who could give them feedback. Complaints about "lonely decisions" are rightly made, ie decisions for which there was no feedback loop.

For strategic thinking processes, you should therefore think carefully about how to set up useful feedback: This can be your spouse, a group of department heads or an external consultant. Just forego it, you shouldn't.

Give yourself feedback

As a rule, one does not want to trumpet strategic considerations. Sometimes even real secrecy is required. (This goes so far that a special tool like MeineSTRATEGIE can store generated content in encrypted form.) So how do you get feedback when nobody is allowed to know about it?

You would have to be your feedback provider yourself. Here are three tips:

  • First: Change time and place for feedback: Do not give yourself your feedback at the desk where your solutions were created, but in the morning while jogging in the forest, at noon in the canteen, sitting in the car parking lot or in the evening while brushing your teeth
  • Second, put yourself in someone else's shoes: what would your grandfather say? Or the average consumer? Machiavelli? Your strongest competitor? A worker in your workshop? Your biggest customer? And what would you say yourself if these weren't yours, but someone else's ideas?
  • Third, give yourself complete feedback. Take a look at all the components of the solution that have been worked out, each diagram, each approach, each idea that you have picked up or rejected. So act a bit like you would in a real meeting

3. Abstract considerations

Strategy isn't quite as abstract as playing chess. But of course you have to illustrate considerations wherever you can. Examples and diagrams are suitable for this.

Abstract means, for example: You are not looking at specific individual products or customers. Instead, one looks at product groups and segments for which there are no longer any pictorial ideas. We speak of "categories". Very often it is advantageous to hold on to specific individual cases for a better idea, representing a larger, abstract group of things. Just as a knight's armor can represent the entire Middle Ages or a book can represent culture, an individual product in a diagram can also create a specific reference.

It is therefore helpful in many cases to include, for example, photos of specific individual products in abstract diagrams. A diagram is best when nothing can be left out. When in doubt, however, the diagram is the better that is better understood. Try it out.

Of course, good diagrams are a lot more work than a keyword cemetery. Many people are simply used to thinking on a high level of abstraction. Nevertheless, you should always give others and yourself the opportunity to think graphically, concretely and right-brained.