High Performance: Make strategic thinking a priority

November 10, 2014 -  By

People today are busier than ever. From the moment we wake up in the morning until we hit the hay at night, our lives are jam packed. Most of us are plugged in all the time, never off the clock—always available to be reached and consumed with tasks, deadlines and stress. In the midst of all of this activity, strategic thinking is rarely a priority. The urgency of current activity consumes our minds with tactical thoughts, trumping our time for strategic thinking.

What is strategic thinking? Good question and an important one for leaders. Strategy begins with a deep understanding of your core purpose and core principles. In other words, knowing your mission and values will guide strategy. It will point it in the right direction and provide the boundaries. With this foundation, strategic thinking may shift to a particular direction—a vision for something inspiring that will require enormous effort and a little bit of luck. A fully articulated vision is much more than a dream but many visions started out as simple dreams. Armed with your core purpose, core principles and a vision for the future, you then may begin to develop more tactical plans for how to achieve the vision. This is part of what strategic thinking is.

Leaders have an obligation to spend time thinking strategically and to involve their key people in the process as well. It requires a leader to be proactive to schedule time for strategic thinking, both privately and with their inner circle, in order to be able to articulate a clear vision for the future and a roadmap of how to get there.

In many organizations, there is a common awareness that no strategy exists. People are busy doing things, but they really don’t have an understanding of why these things matters, aside from the fact that they need to be done and they’re getting paid to do them. When this is the reality, people are inclined to give minimal effort or less. Can you blame them?

When was the last time you scheduled time for strategic thinking? Maybe it’s time to get out your calendar and block out an hour for yourself and another hour for your team to get the ball rolling.

Now go forth.

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About the Author:

Harwood is a Managing Partner with GrowTheBench and Pro-Motion Consulting. Reach him at He is a Landscape Industry Certified Manager, NALP Trailblazer, NALP Consultant, and Certified Snow Professional. Harwood holds a BA in Marketing and Executive MBA with Honors from Michigan State University.

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