Strategic Thinking (2-Day Intensive)
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2 day workshop - 8:30 to 4:30
In this workshop you will encounter a discipline simultaneously more realistic and imaginative than might seem possible. In truth, most of us live inside a very comfortable and accommodating box, but a box nonetheless. Not only do we not think outside the box, we seldom look, step or even wonder what it would be like to exit the box.
It is not entirely our own fault. Our schools, corporations, government institutions and economy have mostly set up shop snugly inside the box. We want to believe that's where everything is happening. Unfortunately, the future is not coming to a box near you. Successful strategy means appreciating how much you don't know and being ready nevertheless.
This workshop offers an opportunity to appreciate the following aspects of strategic thinking:
- Why planning is essential but forecasting is generally useless
- What the real reasons are that make complacency so dangerous
- When trust is vital and when it is fatal
- How even the best education becomes treacherous in practice
- Proof there is a dynamic state of positive negativity
- Where the world of waste and ruin lurks in misplaced statistics
- The fine line between overblown and under acknowledged risk
- How to succeed by first anticipating and then containing failure
- Best practices for clearing your head and making room for your mind
- The rocky road to effective strategic evolution
- The only two or maybe three big things in the universe
- The incredible value of radically skeptical empiricism
- Why we should engage in authentic, powerful and open dialogue
- The profound capacity of effective resilience
- How and why we get deference and authority all wrong
- How to distinguish known unknowns from unknown unknowns and the unknowable
Strategic planning versus strategic thinking
Planning and thinking are complementary parts of a strategic whole. The plan is the architecture or framework for strategic action, but the reflexive conceptualizing that effective decision makers appear to do effortlessly, turns strategy into learning. Which comes first? Thinking and planning are in a chicken and egg relationship: strategic planning entails strategic thinking just as viable strategic thinking implies a conceptual context. In the nineties, debates unfolded over the design versus emergent elements among strategy theorists. The growing consensus is that workable strategy must be anticipated before implementation begins, but will only succeed with the flexibility that comes through a consciously evolving process.
Attributes and features of strategic thinking
Artists in every media engage in Strategic Thinking through the act of creation. Consider what they must contend with in bringing a new thing into the world. In going forth with courage into communities which may have little inclination to accept what they have to offer, they need to develop the essential attributes that reveal the big picture of the moment.
Julia Sloan, author of Learning to Think Strategically has identified five of these core attributes that she has found artists and strategic thinkers hold in common. For this workshop we have expanded her list to eight recasting them as practices strategic thinkers aspire to cultivate:
- View mindfulness and resilience as key strategic approaches
- Appreciate the value and pursuit of informal learning
- Balance strategic thinking and strategic planning
- Tolerate conflicting dimensions such as complexity, ambiguity and contradiction
- Probe and discern risk in a strategic context
- Manage the unexpected and expect the unmanageable
- Engage in dialogue without the constraint of preconditions
- Participate in the arts while discovering their role in strategic framing
Through exercises, the review of relevant examples and lively discussion you will meet workshop objectives (and your own expectations) as you acquire the basic knowledge, fundamental skills and key attitudes of the strategic thinker. Mastery of this discipline is a lifelong challenge, but strategic thinking capacity at any level yields results that can make all the difference. .