Saturday, December 25, 2021



In the year 1993, Lou Gerstner joined IBM as it's CEO at a time when the company was in a precarious situation. It's previous strategy of offering computers end-to-end (fully assembled) did not work as the industry had defragmented with many computer companies started offering individual parts.

Various analysts wrote IBM off unless it fragmented and changed their strategy. Lou Gerstner developed a different diagnosis of the situation. Rather than fragmenting, Lou said he would integrate and centralize various functions to become market leaders in IT consulting.

The book- "Good Strategy, Bad Strategy" states that every good strategy has the same foundation:
- a diagnosis
- a guiding policy
- and a set of coherent actions

One of the most overused terms in the professional world and specifically in most career specific discussions is 'Strategic Thinking'.

What really is Strategic Thinking ? As the author Pearl Zhu puts it '“Strategic Thinking is about “Keeping the end in mind. It's a bridge between where you are and where you want to be.'

While it is commonplace to hear a feedback like 'You need to be more strategic' and yet it is also way far from being close to anything actionable. How can you become more Strategic ? Are there any prescribed ways ?

I found this HBR article by Nina Bowman quite actionable in this regard.

Here are the 4 ways Nina suggests to embrace strategic thinking skills (and more in my #sketchnote summary)

1. Know: Observe and Seek Trends (In order to be strategic, you need a solid understanding of the industry context, trends, and business drivers. )

2. Think: Ask the Tough Questions (With a fresh understanding of trends and issues, you can practice using strategic thinking by asking yourself, “How do I broaden what I consider?” Questions are the language of strategy.)

3. Speak: Sound Strategic (Strategic thinkers also know how to speak the language. They prioritize and sequence their thoughts. )

4. Act: Make Time for Thinking and Embrace Conflict (learn to embrace debate and to invite challenge, without letting it get personal)

How do you prefer to grow your strategic thinking skills ?


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