Most business owners have a vision for their enterprise but often lack the strategies that will enable them to realize that vision. What they need to do is to commence the process of strategic thinking.
It helps you adapt to changes in your life and make transitions from one stage to another; it also enables you to more clearly see the opportunities that lie ahead. Basically it helps you to achieve your goals.
Essentially what strategic thinking asks you to do is to define your vision with as much clarity as possible, then work inwards to create the steps that will allow you to get where and what you want. You do this with the power of your imagination.
There are five focus areas that will guide you to the definition of your vision, and create an awareness of how to realize your vision. Each focus area should be taken separately. Don’t rush and be sure to go through these steps in as much detail as possible. Record your thoughts as you go; a voice recorder is often helpful in this procedure.
The Big Picture
The first task is to step back. Once you see the big picture and your ideal outcomes first, drill down to the details.
Close your eyes and imagine that you’re looking down on your business as you want it to be in three years’ time with everything working perfectly and generating good profits. Now apply this technique to the people in your business, then to the systems that make it work. Always start on a broad scale and work inwards from there.
These are tools that you apply as you work down from the big picture. Viewpoints are different ways of looking at the same thing as you develop your vision. Four are listed here, but you can create as many as you need to ensure that every angle is covered:
- The project viewpoint – what individual projects are needed to build the vision and bring it to completion?
- The process viewpoint – what processes must be in place to make your vision function? How do they work?
- The resources viewpoint – what resources (financial, personal) are needed to make your vision happen?
- The environmental viewpoint – what are the conditions in your business environment? What are you competing against and what will make you successful?
Structure & resources
What is the organizational and human resource structure of your business when the vision is achieved? Imagine the way it will be managed, the support team in place and the production processes all working smoothly. This is your ideal so go into all the detail necessary to cover every aspect.
The drivers of your vision
Drivers are the forces that power your vision. They are the intangible elements and values in place when your vision is complete. What skills will your ideal business possess? What will be the focus of your team? What will be the mission of your business? What will build spirit and morale in your ideal enterprise? What ethics will be in place?
By working through the first four focus areas of the process you have built the foundations of your ideal business. You know the structure, the resources, the values and the market in some detail. The final step is to do a summary of everything you want to have and what you’ve learned as you worked through the process.
By working through these five focus areas, you have developed a picture of exactly how your business vision can be fulfilled. Your vision has been created using a process that also gives you the strategies to accomplish it.