Strategic Thinking Tools

SWOT analysis

Before a State of Origin match, the teams analyse the opposition to identify threats and to look for any opportunity to take advantage of their weakness. The teams also analyse themselves to identify potential weaknesses and to optimize their strengths. They have a winning attitude and as part of their preparation they ask, “What could stop us?” to make sure they have planned for all potential risks.

Analyse Internally and Externally

In a similar way, organisations should be analysing themselves, the competition, and the environment in which they do business, to understand internal strengths and weaknesses along with external threats and opportunities. Commonly used is a simple SWOT analysis which can provide much insight to an organisation, however there are a myriad of tools available. PESTEL analysis is used to analyse the macro-environment including Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Environmental and Legal factors. Culture and Stakeholder analysis may also be useful for understanding where an organisation stands before embarking on strategic thinking and planning.

Other “thinking tools” as I like to call them, can help determine the best strategy to choose. These can include cost/benefit analyses and decision matrices and risk registers.

Strategic Thinking Tools Help Decision Making

Strategic thinking tools are designed to help organisational leaders step back from the day to day to make informed decisions based on risk. The tools can help identify risks to guide the strategic planning process, and once you know where you want to go, help identify “What could stop us getting there?”

As a leader, are you taking advantage of common thinking tools to ensure your planning and decisions are using risk-based thinking?