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Strategic Thinking


Strategic thinking is a process of developing or examining the assumptions about the future upon which the organization's  mission, goals, and strategy are based to evaluate whether they still reflect the realities the organization faces and how they should be realigned for the future.  

Since the future is unknown and the world is continually changing, all business plans and strategies eventually become obsolete and the assumptions on which they are based must be reexamined and updated.  

Strategic thinking is a process of creating a picture of the future and its opportunities and pitfalls.  It  provides the insights to answer the questions "What business are we in today?" and "What business should we be in tomorrow?"  Peter Drucker defines this activity as examining the "Theory of the Business".  

Strategic thinking is a creative, mind expanding process of visualizing the future environment the business will face, identifying the assumptions upon which this thinking is based, and formulating the strategy that will bring success.  

The products of strategic thinking are a refocused mission, goals and strategy.


Symptoms of obsolete or invalid assumptions and strategy

  • The enterprise's strategic objectives have been achieved.

  • The enterprise has experienced extremely rapid growth in a relatively short period.

  • There has been unexpected success or failure in the enterprise or its competitors.

  • The enterprise is experiencing stagnant or declining revenues, sales volume, or profitability.

  • Profits are lower than the enterprise's cost of capital.

  • Nonprofit organizations are experiencing stagnant or declining service outcomes and/or contributed income 


Three Sigma's services

Strategic thinking encompasses a vast array of issues and can be a time consuming and unproductive activity unless it has structure to keep it focused.  We coach and facilitate strategic thinking discussions using a variety of analytical tools and models to provide structure, organization, and discipline to this process.

For executives who choose to accomplish this process with their own resources we offer models on this website to:  

We can provide coaching by phone or e-mail to help or facilitate using these models and tools.


Expected results

The enterprise's mission, goals, and strategy are based on assumptions more aligned with present opportunities and realities.  This should produce the following measurable results:

  • Profitable operations in industries and market segments where the enterprise can sustain a competitive advantage.
  • Resumption or continuation of growth in revenues, sales volume, customer satisfaction, and profits.
  • Sustained profits that exceed the enterprise's cost of capital.
  • Improved service outcomes and growth in contributed income for nonprofit organizations.

Copyright 2002 Three Sigma, Inc.