It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day tasks at work. There are so many demands on your time, from the never-ending cascade of emails to meetings, presentations, and conferences. The trouble is, you often just don’t get time to spend thinking about anything other than what’s right in front of you. And that’s not good for business.
If you struggle to find time for strategizing, doing some long-term planning, and competitive analysis, try these tips to make strategy part of your regular routine.
1. Make Strategic Thinking A Team Responsibility
Maybe you don’t have to take sole responsibility for doing strategic thinking. You’ll get a whole lot more energy, ideas and importantly, greater buy-in if you engage your entire team in strategic thinking from the get-go.
Think widely about who can bring positive input to the table. Schedule a series of meetings with all your stakeholders, collaborators, and clients. Make strategic thinking a regular part of your professional engagement.
2. Quarantine Your Strategic Thinking Time
It can be almost impossible to do deep, reflective thinking in the modern office. You’re likely to be interrupted or have competing priorities clamoring for your attention. Block out a whole or half-day in your calendar and consider working from home, booking a meeting room, or even going off-site.
Encourage your creative flow by turning off your phone or put it in another room, so you’re not tempted to check for messages. Turn off notifications on your computer and close your email.
Make sure you have plenty of brain-nourishing foods, and water to stay hydrated. Schedule in a walk for some fresh air. Above all, find quiet time to really encourage your blue-sky thinking.
3. Get brainstorming
Strategic thinking can thrive on unstructured, freewheeling group discussion. Sit down with your team and have an anything goes brainstorming sessions. House rules are that no ideas are bad ideas, and everyone gets a turn.
Make sure to prepare your participants, so they are well briefed before you meet and get them to commit to the house rules. Set the boundaries for a judgment-free zone and wait for the ideas to flow.
4. Talk Up Your Strategic Thinking
There’s nothing like accountability as a motivator. So instead of just thinking about finding time for strategic thinking, tell your colleagues and your boss that this is a priority for you. You need them to support and respect your commitment and not unwittingly undermine you by interrupting or overloading you with other work.