Updated: Nov 3
Being strategic requires us to activate our mind and be more conscious about certain aspects that influence our decision making along the way. In this blog we propose a list of strategic parameters and introduce the strategic mind-map to facilitate anyone in being strategic, and thus mindful, about their next move.
What makes something strategic? What makes something mindful? How are these two concepts related?
Strategic Management in a nutshell
There is a wide spectrum of ideas about what strategy actually means. Some perceive it more on a tactical level, whereas others treat it like an art guiding decisions in competitive and growth related environments. Different minds, different thoughts.
We @Sparks happened to have spent some time during our studies on this matter, and the first thing that stuck: 'strategy is a process'. A few years of experience on top, we suggest the following approach to this helpful 'function'.
We treat strategy as a #process (input - throughput - output) and we imagine it starting with a vision and ending with an action step in a cyclical fashion (output = input). From this perspective, strategy is dynamic and can evolve into an opportunity for continuous #refinement.
This opportunity is nurtured by experiences, or in other words: actions and re-actions. Constant adaptations along strategic parameters, e.g.vision, values and context, are enabled based on insights and ideas generated throughout the process. This makes strategy more fluid and better equipped for instant improvement.
When we talk about strategic parameters we are actually talking about key considerations that can serve as constant reminders and points of reference for evaluation of effectiveness along the way, and this is our link to mindfulness.
Mindfulness in a nutshell
When looking at the Oxford Dictionary's definition of 'mind' and 'mindful', thee following definitions are presented:
... 'the part of a person that makes them able to be aware of things, to think and to feel'
... 'your ability to think and reason; your intelligence; the particular way that somebody thinks'
... 'remembering somebody/something and considering them or it when you do something'
... 'concentrating on the present moment, especially as a technique to help you relax'
Basically, anything you do mindfully, or in a mindful way, means that you put your full attention, focus and mind on it. In essence, strategic and mindful share the same effect: They act as a reminder, help raise awareness and thus enable clarity and focus.
Introducing a Strategic mind-map for your mindful initiative
So when we say being strategic is also being mindful, we promote the idea that a strategic frame of thought can help make sense and improve decision making in a structured way, especially when the strategic parameters are reflecting your essence, your vision and your values & beliefs. We also promote the idea that strategy is not rocket science and is not only reserved for top functions in big organisations. Everyone can be strategic, just like everyone has the capacity to be mindful.
Here is a small step by step guide to be be strategic and mindful about your next steps:
1. Choose the factors that shape your strategy. We propose: Values/ Vision/ Mission/ Actions/Context (cf: Contextscanner©) Tip: Keep them simpel.
2. Define their contents. Tip: Detailed enough to keep it simpel.
3. Check in once in a while to see if they make sense and 'still' nurture each other. Tip: enter into a dialogue between your thoughts and experienced reality. Patience and realistic timelines are a pro. Experience is practice.
The questions behind the concepts are key, e.g.: How does your vision give credit tot your values? Who or what in your context is relevant to be incorporated in your mission? How are your actions supporting your mission? Does your current context nurture your purpose? [...]
Some questions are standard, most arise during conversation.
Strategic Reflection with Sparks
As part of the Values Driven Journey and in context of the bigger picture, which we wrapped up in our Contextscanner©, we offer Strategic Reflections (with Lego® SeriousPlay®) for clarity on choices and improved decision making.
For you, your team or your organisation.
A strategic reflection can help trigger awareness on key elements that in their totality contribute to better insights, choices and decisions.
Whether you are at the beginning, in the middle or almost at the final stage of a project or initiative, a strategic reflection can help clarify purpose and can act as a gatekeeper for consistency, quality and integrity.