A plan is much more likely to achieve that goal if it came from discussions that were highly inclusive, participatory, and strategic. The buy-in starts from their strong understanding of your big picture, ownership, and commitment to the process in the discussions.
Advantages of strategic planning
- Effective governance, including oversight and operations.
- Common vision and goals for everybody in the organization.
- Clear delineation and coordination of employee roles.
- Successful, sustainable products and programs.
- Stronger marketing, including research, advertising, and promotions.
- More stable and consistent revenue streams.
- Overall, more proactive direction-setting, decision-making, and problem-solving.
Having a strategy allows for breakthrough change and innovation as opposed to continuous improvement. Writing a strategic plan for your business or organization will provide a road map to help set a clear direction for future growth. This should not be a static document and will need to be reviewed continuously.
Everyone has a natural or instinctive approach to decision making.
Depending on whether you are a pessimist or an optimist, you’ll consider different factors before making your choices. However, you won’t make the best decisions just by looking at the potential upsides or downsides of any given situation.
It is only when you change your natural outlook on the problem and analyze things from different perspectives you will arrive at the most practical decision.
There are six thinking hats one can use to get better strategic planning this helps business owners to make effective decisions and have a competitive edge that benefits you immensely.
It also helps keep your thinking clear and prevents confusion from trying to grasp too many angles simultaneously.
The thinking hats are:
- Blue – The big picture view
- White – Right information and facts
- Red – Emotions
- Black – Critical thinking
- Yellow – Positive
- Green – Flowing new ideas
Before we look at each hat and how they apply to strategic planning processes, it’s essential to note the following two rules.
- Firstly, when in groups, it’s crucial everyone wears the same hat color always.
- Secondly, teamwork is the key. Therefore every member of the group must agree to go with the flow and actively participate with the same color hat on.
Now, let’s examine each hat color and its corresponding thinking attributes.
- Blue – The big picture hat helps organize the entire decision-making and planning process. It’s essential everyone, including the leader, also wears this hat to know the layout and infrastructure the whole group is using. Because without it, the strategy lacks structure, and this affects how the team achieves its expected objectives.
- White – This hat deals with the facts and figures of the situation. Therefore when you and your team have this hat on, you need to be as objective as possible. Also, you need to engage in fact-gathering activities that ensure nothing but the relevant truths get to the table.
- Red – Here, everyone deals with the intuition and emotion the facts and figures obtained have given them about the situation. You rely on your instinct and gut feelings to lead the way when you actively wear the red hat.
- Black – You know it’s the time to access and appreciate risk the moment you switch to the black hat. It calls for caution and ensures you fully understand the weaknesses in your strategy. Plus, it allows for the recognition of inconsistencies in a plan.
- Yellow – The yellow hat is responsible for accessing positivity and looking at the possibilities. As such, it is the hat of the optimist. When you have this on, you’re looking for opportunities for inside and outside sales in the market and how you can strategically drive new business.
- Green – You and your team can shift to creativity mode with the green hat. It is natural to stick to what you already know. However, you need to explore uncharted territories and divert from old tactics. This helps you find out new ways of addressing problems.
Ultimately, the wearing of each hat is metaphorical. However, the benefits of the six thinking hats for brainstorming and problem-solving among groups have all but proven this technique’s efficiency.
Remember, whether you apply this method or not, the natural decision-making time and the quality of decisions aren’t directly proportional. It’s the quality of the process that affects how well you decide as an individual, a team, and, eventually, as an organization in its entirety.
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