Strategic Thinking: Open All Hours

Strategic ThinkingIn an increasingly disrupted world, leaders need to be agile and adaptive. Strategic thinking must be embedded in the culture of organisations, with an ‘open all hours’ attitude. Strategic planning is no longer enough, and is only a focus towards of the strategic development process.

The diagram below shows how I interpret aspects of strategic development. Half of our work with clients focuses on strategic thinking. It’s about looking outwards, scanning the environment and exploring possibilities. In the past, organisations have jumped straight to narrowing of strategic options. In today’s world an inwards focus is the kiss of organisational death.

Strategic Thinking: Open All Hours

Strategic Thinking


Using the ROCA approach helps ask questions that explore widely, then narrow down options to lead to a preferred future. It is not a linear process, but a constant weaving of ideas. Generally though, the parts of strategic development are as follows:



The opportunity to explore the realities of today and the trends that are influencing the future. Environmental scanning occurs in this space, as does engaging people and listening to their ideas.


Expanding your thinking by identifying key trends and establishing of scenarios. This is a great time for deep conversation, questioning assumptions and challenging thinking. The development of scenarios is a key part of this stage. Letting go of  ‘comfortable’ can lead to new insights.


Now it’s time to work towards preferences, while still pushing strategic boundaries for the future of your organisation. It’s a time to focus on some ‘big rocks’ of change.


Let’s get serious about implementing your strategy. Your systems should focus on an ongoing spiral of strategic process. The ‘open all hours’ philosophy means that you have regular touch points of strategy in your workflow, board room and reflections.

Strategic Change Summary

A good strategic development process is agile – it can morph based on the continuous scanning processes you develop. A greater focus on strategic thinking is key to maintaining relevance. The table below is my summary of the changes needed.

Strategic Thinking: Open All Hours

The changing nature of strategy

It’s useful to reflect on these changes and consider your next steps to move to strategic thinking from a futures perspective. Is your strategy open all hours or dusted off for special occasions?

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