Navigating the Future with a Strategic Mindset
Nelson Soken, Ph.D
During this major transition time as organizations deliberate and make plans for how to best conduct work and deal with uncertainty, economic and cultural shifts and rapid change, perhaps, it is best to take a moment to use some strategic thinking and create multiple potential future scenarios. Let’s try asking ourselves some reflective questions that presume we don’t have the “right answer”, but rather we are asking all the “right questions”. Here are a few to help get started:
- What assumptions are we making about where we are right now and what the future will look like?
- Have we considered all the factors that will shape the future in the broadest possible way, so we have the “big picture”?
- Are we creating little “experiments” to test out what we believe (hypotheses) so we are gathering data to drive our decisions?
- Are we stepping back to ensure that we are not just collecting information that confirms what we already believe the answer is (cognitive/underlying biases)?
The world is an uncertain place right now. We have to be flexible and adaptable, and be okay with recognizing that we don’t have all the answers, but we are setting ourselves up to be prepared for the future that unfolds. Through that, we will be nimble, responsive and ultimately more ready to deal with the array of possibilities.
Editor’s Note: For more insights from Nelson Soken on navigating the future with strategic thinking and strategic mindsets, see Nelson’s article “Strategic Thinking: How We Continue to Move from Strategic Thinking to Strategic Action” which was just reprinted on this blog.
Barnes & Conti also has a program entitled Strategic Thinking: Leadership Tools for Planning, Problem-Solving, and Decision-Making
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