The problem isn't that people can't think strategically. The problem is that there are disincentives to thinking strategically. Strategy requires discourse, collaboration, contemplation, and critical thinking. It takes time and space. Sadly, time to think—alone and together—is in short supply in most organizations.
"disincentives to thinking strategically" might be broken down a bit (rewards missing for strategic thought, points of pain for trying, points of pain for succeeding despite X). And better strategic thinking is less "thinking" than a series of conversations and experiments with the world.
I would be interested in your sharing an example of a "good strategy"
Thank you. From 20+ years in the Big Tech world: strategy requires critical examination and diagnosis, and those are disciplines too often dismissed by leaders more interested in their position than in the group's performance. And thus we move blindly to constructing pillars (most often with new words for old thoughts.)
I think the product leader meant "reactive" (acting in response to a situation) and not "reactionary" (opposing political or social progress or reform.)
If even 20% of the time effort and resources allocated for creating "productivity" go into creating "clarity", our working lives would be so much better.
"We don't have time to plan". I see stress and frustration levels rise when I try to encourage people/teams to stay in the strategic thinking space. And it's mostly because of what you point out in your article, particularly the bias towards action, so I concur.
The other thing I notice is that leaders can find it confronting to being in the strategic space. My view is that's where they should be, but it's hard right. It demands thinking, researching, debating, dialoguing. It feels in active compared to being a "doing / execution machine". Leaders find it easy to "do", harder to "think". I'm not excusing this behaviour, I've just noticed it a lot in the consulting and coaching work I do.
Strategy implies being informed and the competencies to understand now and discover what's ahead to inform now and future paths. Time and space is often not provided for the reflective practices required to do this meaningfully. Leading to enormous waste.
Based on your post John, do you think companies should have 1 strategy or multiple (company, product and team)?
I think I’m squarely in #1: not enough time / fatigue. I have a rough cut at diagnosis, and because the company is output focused, necessarily immediate actions. But missing the guiding policies, and more importantly others in the org with the time and incentives to develop this further and discuss.
On the other side, I realize what I’ve been tasked with is just a piece of a larger puzzle (I hope). Which I appreciate #3 in how to change course perhaps starting with my area and eventually the broader company.