The theme of Strategic Thinking is of special interest to us because we know that it is here that the main function of a top leader lies - to think in a comprehensive, systemic way, to have the vision of the future and to worry about the relevant facts related to the business.
We have many clients who ask us to help them think about the future of their companies or their departments. Some want to change the Organization's strategy due to changes in context and want to have someone to help them think about the various variables and decide what the best course is. Others want to be able to devote themselves to the strategy of the Company or the department and free themselves from the operational issues that occupy them most of the time. They know they have to stop being firefighters and they want to change but they have a lot of difficulty in getting it done. There are still others who want to find solutions to complex problems that require thinking out of the box and have difficulty doing so.
In addition, in Brazil a large multinational company asked us to assess the strategic thinking and competencies of its Directors and Managers in order to have the leading pipeline. For this we are certified in the process of evaluation of strategic thinking, the CNE - Complexity Navigation Evaluation, which prepared us to work better in this area.
How do we do the Strategic Thinking Assessment?
We use the CNE - Complexity Navigation Evaluation process that was developed to evaluate the ability of individuals in the act of applying judgment in a complex environment. The CNE consists of a dialogue about the past and the direction of the career in the future, an exercise in Complexity Navigation and an in-depth discussion of how the individual likes to think about his work. This process distinguishes the level at which the person is in strategic thinking ranging from being able to solve complex strategic problems to, solving problems at the operational level.
What do organizations gain from this Assessment?
Based on the results of the various employees with managerial functions, we create a pool of talent, that is, a map that allows the organization to see the human potential and patterns of capacity growth over time. This allows the organization to act in a planned way with its human resources: from planned selection, succession, discovery of talent to innovation functions, international careers, etc. With these assessments we allow organizations to be sure that at each hierarchical level they have people mentally equipped to do their job. Of course, to be a leader requires more skills than having strategic thinking and so we also assess other skills such as your emotional intelligence and motivation. If these conditions are met, the subordinates will feel that their boss "knows what he is doing," and the boss himself will feel comfortable setting the context for the people at the next level in the hierarchy. Organizations that have already been restructured to have the strictly needed hierarchical levels and the people with the right level of strategic thinking for the levels they occupy have achieved almost magical results. In fact, they had quantum leaps in productivity and profits, and employees were more satisfied and dedicated.
And the collaborators? What do they gain from this assessment?
For individual people the results are very important to position themselves and to get to know each other better. It allows them to align their capacity with the complexity of the work. One of the biggest sources of stress is the misalignment between the employee's capacity and the job challenge. Normally, quality decisions are made when these two components are aligned. When people are 'out of the water' (capacity and complexity not integrated), there are losses to the company - improper decisions, waste, postponement - and for the person - anxiety, frustration or apathy and somatization.
Employees also benefit from information that is very relevant to the conduct of their own career, since it allows them to anticipate the transition phases. Over time the potential reveals itself and moves from one level to another of complexity. Each change in the level of complexity causes the worldview to change, to change, and to seek other challenges. It also allows to promote self knowledge and know how to recognize one's own limits.
And is it possible to develop strategic thinking?
Yes, but it has to be an extensive job and it takes some time. We do it in groups in workshops or individually through coaching. In both formats we use a lot of questions that lead them to reason in a systemic way, that is, see the points of interaction between facts, cultures and different realities in the relationship between the company and the market. We help you be open-minded, broaden your horizons and have a vision in the medium and long term. To this end, we promote reasoning and the creation of new associations of ideas. Leadership comes from being able to reflect on a topic and look for information that allows them to broaden the associations of ideas on this topic, rather than having ready answers. We ask them questions to interpret scenarios, combine resources, identify the nerve endpoint of each question. We promote the critical spirit and find new opportunities by observing the trends of change resulting from technological innovations. In this way we help them move from a tactical perspective to a strategic perspective. We ask about your interests, such as movies and books, discover examples of strategic thinking and explore and learn lessons for your business. We also promote self-awareness of your level of strategic thinking and what your preferred style of designing strategies is. We also help train creativity and how to think out of the box.
These are truly transformational interventions that allow leaders to raise their level.
Isabel Freire de Andrade | Bright Concept Partner