• Peter Attwood

Why is it so difficult to find time for Strategic Thinking?


Why is it so difficult to find time for strategic thinking?

One of the challenges we find from working with senior managers is the difficulty they have in spending time working ‘on the business’ rather than ‘in the business’. The day to day pressures are such that many managers can’t think beyond the current month, and get absorbed in managing crises and firefighting, rather than spending time planning for the future.

President Eisenhower developed a concept (the Eisenhower Box) to distinguish Important and Urgent Q1, Important and Not Urgent Q2, Not important and Urgent Q3, and Not Important or Urgent Q4. (see attachment). He suggested we focus too much on Quadrant 1 and not enough on Quadrant 2, while Q3 gives us an opportunity for delegation, and Q4 must be avoided altogether.

Working ‘on the business’, is a Quadrant 2 activity, and involves a different mindset, where you schedule regular time to reflect on longer term issues, stepping outside your role to explore such questions as:

• What are we trying to achieve for our customers? • Can we improve on our services, processes, communication or delivery? • What are our customers saying about our services? • Do we encourage feedback and make the process easy? • What can we learn from our competitors? • Where do we want to take our business in 2017? Everyone is busy and can’t ‘find’ the time to do this but instead must schedule the time as a priority.

From our experience, Managers who master this ability of strategic leadership, really add value for their business, gain greater satisfaction from having this bigger picture focus and provide a fine example for their team and customers.

Customers appreciate a business that listens to their needs and adjusts its service to more effectively meet them. A business with strategic leaders will be a market leader, with a shift from current day to day survival to a focus on what it is building for the future.

Marg Attwood.

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