Strategic thinking is identifying, imagining and understanding possible and plausible future operating environments for your organisation and using that knowledge to expand your thinking about your potential future. Emerging from the strategic thinking process are options about how to position your organisation effectively in the external environment which should lead you to make better informed decisions about actions to be taken today.


The thinking that goes into the plan is the least understood and most ignored part of strategy development, to put it into context:

  • Strategic Thinking is about generating options about what might happen in the future in order to make:

  • strategic decision, which is about making choices - deciding what to do – which leads to:

  • strategic planning, which is about describing how it will be done.





The aim of this course is to help delegates to Integrate the future into their decision making processes today by thinking big, deep and long. In order to achieve this we will introduce a number of approaches, tools and techniques to support long-term, open-minded thinking about what will be an uncertain, divergent future to enable discontinuity thinking.





By the end of the programme delegates will be able to:

  • Increase the ability to identify the strategic opportunities, issues, and targets.

  • Shift the mindset from short-term gain to long-term value.

  • Gain support and win the commitment and enthusiasm of others.

  • Employ practical strategic thinking tools for a variety of contexts.

  • Develop ideas for a strategic business plan.





It is our intention to give delegates an opportunity to understand the nature and practice of strategic thinking. In order to do so we will present a range of learning experiences including presentations, case studies, exercises and simulations.



Duration:   4 days



Who it's for:

All business owners, directors and managers wo have an interest in developing the future of their organisation.



Course Content


Day 1



  • Personal introductions;

  • Course objectives and methods;

  • Action planning and follow up.


Strategy and Strategic Thinking

  • Defining Strategic Thinking and its context within the strategic planning process;

  • Critical Thinking styles: creative thinking, thinking outside the box, Bono’s Six Thinking hats;

  • Exercise: using a range of thinking styles;

  • Report back and discussion.


Alternative Business Strategies

  • Porter Analysis: exploring alternative competitive positions;

  • Exercise: describing the business implications for each competitive position;

  • Report back and discussion about your company’s competitive position.

  • Porter’s 5 Forces: thinking about the forces that act on a business;

  • Exercise: identifying the forces that impact your company’s business;

  • report back and discussion on your company’s potential market challenges.




Day 2


Business Fundamentals

  • the benefit of defining and communicating organisational vision, mission, values and competitive strategy;

  • making business fundamentals consequential – the basis of all actions and decisions – using the grand prix business model;

  • tuning in with your company’s vision, mission, values and competitive advantage;

  • discontinuity thinking: what will the world look like within the planning horizon?

  • exercise: what are the implications for your company?

  • report back and discussions.


Future Thinking

  • The process of developing the business vision:

  • Forecasting the Future – how to select your planning horizon and conduct an analysis of the political, economic, social, technological, environmental and legal situation;

  • Exercise: conducting a PESTEL analysis;

  • Report back and discussion.


Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats

  • exercise: identifying, from the analysis, the key potential opportunities and threats that will challenge your company within the planning horizon;

  • preparing for the future – how to identify organizational strengths and weaknesses (capacities and competencies) in order to survive and grow in the future;

  • Exercise: create a plan to leverage strengths and manage (or mitigate) weaknesses within the context of the PESTEL analysis;

  • Report back and discussion.




Day 3


Adopting the Vision

  • blue ocean thinking: creating uncontested market space, making the competition irrelevant; creating and capturing new demand;

  • exercise: develop long-term visions for your company and explore alternative competitive positions;

  • report back and discussion about alternative views of the future and your company’s potential positions;

  • exercise: selecting the preferred vision and calibrating to produce targets;

  • report back and discussion.


The Strategic Plan

  • How to produce the plan: the process of conducting a “Walk back” from the vision to the first year of the planning period to produce annual targets with the “Means to Achieve;”

  • Exercise: produce your company’s long range plan;

  • Taking a holistic approach to the organization’s strategic direction: how to use McKinseys 7S model to test the comprehensiveness of the plan;

  • Exercise: Aligning the plan with your company’s Performance Management System;

  • Report back and discussion.


Risk Analysis

  • Considering the risks to the plan; how to develop a feedback loop to provide alerts to issues and challenges;

  • Exercise: produce ‘What If’ scenarios to prepare for tactical shifts in response to unforeseen incidents;

  • Exercise: The Armageddon scenario;

  • Report back and discussion.


Executing the Plan

  • Deploying the Plan: how to use Hoshin Kanri to deploy the plan to all levels of your company;

  • exercise: produce a Hoshin Kanri matrix chart for your company;

  • Report back and discussion.

  • Exercise: Produce an example of a Bowling Chart;

  • Report back and discussion.




Day 4


Monitoring Execution

  • The benefits of pilot programmes;

  • The need for feedback loops to monitor the environment for change;


The Balanced Scorecard

  • History and development of the Balanced Scorecard;

  • The purpose of the Balanced Scorecard;

  • The strategy map;

  • Exercise: produce a strategy map for your company;

  • Report back and discussion.


Producing the Scorecard

  • Examples of the Balanced Scorecard;

                                    -  The financial perspective;

                                    -  The customer perspective;

                                    -  The internal perspective;

                                    -  The learning and growth perspective;

  • Identifying cause and effect relationships; 

  • Using the Balanced Scorecard to manage your business;

  • Exercise: produce a Balanced Scorecard for your company;

  • Report back and discussion.


Final Presentation

  • Delegates to prepare presentation for senior management;

  • Delegates to deliver presentation to a group of senior managers;

  • End of course and follow up action planning.

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