To simplify, I will put it like this: Imagine yourself living with no strategy, ambitions, goals to achieve, and missions to complete. You will be a human being without a soul!
Storytime: I was like this with no goals or unrealistic ones without a strategy or again if I had it must have been unclear. I was living like a zombie for 5 years trying to find moments of peace and silence.
When all of a sudden it hit me, what if I had an ACTUAL plan of my life in 5 years’ time? Long story short my planning led me to move out and change countries. Simple as that, I just went for it.
Whatever I was planning ahead that included me staying in the same country just didn’t match with my ambitions and goals. In the conclusion of this short story, I just wanted to point out that without planning even in your personal life nothing essential will come out. Same as in businesses, with no planning you cannot share the importance, the vision(s), the difference, the objectives, the achievements you set out to reach.
From my perspective I see five points on why an organization or a company needs a strategy regardless their aims or missions:
- First and foremost, you need a strategy to set a direction and establish priorities for your company. The direction will define your visions and the priorities the actions you need to take to make these visions a reality.
- Secondly, having a strategy set in mind, decision-making will be simplified and more easily done since the goals or objectives are clear to everyone and the decision-makers.
- Also, in your organization, you may have people working hard but with no effect, because without a strategy, they are not following a scheduled and prioritized plan resulting in not maximizing their efforts.
- Having and understanding all the parts of the strategy are vital to better communicate the “message” to others that are working with you towards the same path of the company’s success.
Strategic thinking vs. planning
The difference between strategic planning and strategic thinking is simple. Strategic thinking’s purpose is when we imagine or envision the future of the organization to rewrite and develop strategies that have a greater chance of success and competitive advantage. To think strategically you answer the questions “what?” and “why?”.
As opposed to that, strategic planning is when you lay down the plans to achieve the visioning by answering the questions “how?”, “when?” and “to whom”. It includes the steps your organization needs to take.
Instantly when I think “strategy” it comes to mind the strategic video and non-video games I used to play when I was little. When you had to figure out your next move to crush the competition and win the game. This is no different than leading a company only that this is real life.
Thinking of strategy now also brings images of people working together brainstorming and being creative when setting the foundations called planning. In my opinion, the best way to transfer the vision from a few to the many is by setting a story behind it.
Stories are what make people empathize with each other and the company’s vision. Share a story on what makes this company and how do you see it in the future and people will share with you their thoughts and empathy. The rest will fall into place.