Discover How To Grow Your Business Using Integrated Thinking And Strategic Thinking
Integrated thinking and strategic thinking are two powerful business decision making tools that can help even novice managers navigate the business environment unscratched. Small and medium size businesses are increasingly embracing these combos to run successful small business that is envied by all. This article is written to bring to the attention of many that integrated thinking combined with strategic thinking is more than enough to succeed as entrepreneurs.
Roger Martin in his book, The Opposable Mind defines integrative thinking as ‘’the ability to face constructively the tension of opposing ideas and, instead of choosing one at the expense of the other, generate a creative resolution of the tension in the form of a new idea that contains elements of the opposing ideas but superior to each.’’
Based on the above premise, we can easily deduce a working definition of integrated thinking for the purpose of this piece. We define integrated thinking as ‘’those critical thinking exercises that are aimed at achieving goal congruence while at the same time producing concise useful information to all stakeholders’’. The whole idea of integrated thinking is to ensure that all hands are on deck to help an entity achieve its set objectives while also satisfying all external parties like the investors. Integrated thinking in this context has nothing to do with the integrated reporting concept.
Rather than become defensive, real managers apply integrated thinking concept which is more receptive in nature when solving complex business problems. Integrated thinking welcomes new ideas, refine them in the light of available information and then make highly informed decision. Integrated thinking leverages on the produce of data driven leadership and big data when saddling the often harsh business terrains.
What is Strategic Thinking?
Strategic thinking on the other hand for the purpose of this piece are those systematic thinking that attempts to cater for the future occurrences and external relationships of an organization. I have previously written a piece on strategic management and planning so will not be going into details here.
Practical application and 5 steps of integrated thinking and Strategic thinking
Broadly speaking, there are five steps involved in the application of integrated thinking and strategic thinking. I need to state at this point that I severally used the 5 steps involved in applying the concept of integrated thinking and strategic thinking to help my clients grow their businesses by more than 24% on average. Following the steps may not reproduce the results that my clients have witnessed as your circumstance may require a little tweak here and there.
- Purpose identification phase: here the mission statement of the company or business is analysed so as to bring to light the main reason why a business is formed in the first place. Thought provoking question will have to be asked at this stage
- Scanning for and establishing value adding links: at this stage is where the linking Rs are identified and possible courses of actions evaluated.
- Identifying talents and capabilities: every task requires the right skill sets to be properly executed. There are many ways that this can be done but one way is to make use of the line managers to identify the untapped potentials.
- Execute: the only thing left here is to carry out the job.
- Repeat: for this to be sustainable, this process will have to be repeated over and over.
Importance of Integrated thinking and strategic thinking
- Provides clear managerial direction
- Equips managers with complex decision making skills
- Motivates managers and other staff
- Boosts a company’s reputation
In this short piece, I have provided a working definition of what an integrated thinking is and how to apply it in the real world. I also highlighted the importance of being an integrated and strategic thinker. A link pointing to a previous article on strategic management was also provided.
If you would like to have a chart with me regarding how to help improve your current business performance using the concept of integrated thinking please do not hesitate to contact me by filling the contact form.