Most companies select goals that are too short term. It is almost impossible for a company to create a truly sustainable competitive advantage — one that is highly difficult for its competitors to copy — in just five to ten years (the time frame that most companies use). Goals that can be achieved within five years are usually either too easy or based on buying and selling something. Anything that a company can buy or sell, however, is probably available for purchase or sale by its competitors as well.
Kabacoff says that you need to encourage managers to set aside time to thinking strategically until it becomes part of their job. He suggests you provide them with information on your company’s market, industry, customers, competitors, and emerging technologies. “One of the key prerequisites of strategic leadership is having relevant and broad business information that helps leaders elevate their thinking beyond the day-to-day,” he writes.
The only sure way to improve the hit rate of your strategic choices is to test the logic of your thinking: For your choices to make sense, what do you need to believe about customers, about the evolution of your industry, about competition, about your capabilities? It is critical to write down the answers to those questions.
Strategic thinking is a highly sought skill. Whether you are the executive trying to put together a strategic leadership team or the applicant on the prowl for your next position or promotion, this is useful information for you.
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