In its simplest form, strategic thinking is about deciding on which opportunities to focus your time, people, and money, and which opportunities to starve. One of history’s greatest strategic thinkers, Napoleon Bonaparte summed it up this way: “In order to concentrate superior strength in one place, economy of force must be exercised in other places.” If dead, despotic French emperors are not really your style, Michael Porter said it like this: “The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do.”
At the highest level, this usually means deciding to sell off one company in order to buy another one. More often it simply means deciding to move some initiatives to the back burner in order to concentrate the bulk of your resources in a single key area.
Sounds simple enough. Yet, three pervasive myths continue to make strategic thinking an elusive skill set in today’s organizations.