Strategic thinking is different from strategic planning. In many respects, it is even more important than strategic planning. To think strategically means to see and understand the bigger picture of what the organization is, where it needs to go, and how it will get there. It means anticipating opportunities and challenges and utilizing that knowledge to guide the organization.
Acknowledging the good reasons that many leaders have for not wanting to discuss or clarify strategic purpose, why should they still do it? A clear, shared sense of purpose for a team, department, or college is one of the best tools that leaders have to create alignment, motivation, and, more broadly, provide a solid foundation for strategic thinking.
When most leaders hear Peter Drucker’s quote, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast,” it makes perfect sense to them. They understand it because they’ve seen it. They’ve seen the ways in which a department’s or team’s plans, goals, or strategies get undermined by “the way we do things around here.”