Reflect for a moment as to where your business would be situated on this graphic.
We see that the effectiveness of Strategic Thinking and operational planning happens at varying levels of proficiency.
The best scenario being the Green Box: You have a clear and well communicated strategy and you have successfully linked this to your operational activity. In this scenario Strategic Thinking is used as a review process to maintain your competitive edge.
However, the Blue Box is the most usual scenario. The business is successful but performance not exceptional. Cherry picking the best opportunities and achieving operational objectives is driving the business and there is probably sufficient growth in your market to sustain all the efficient competitors. In this instance Strategic Thinking is used to develop clear but distinctive strategy which will achieve superior growth results and that has the full buy in from management to then translate into implementation initiatives.
The Yellow Box is where personally you are clear about your direction but you are not achieving the results. The strategy may be clear to one of two people but is not well understood or communicated to those needed for implementation and therefore they don't share your commitment to achieving the end result. The consequence is that they have not been able to focus on what needs to be done to improve operational success. Here Strategic Thinking is used to communicate managementís strategy and then to define Critical Issues.
The Red Box is a critical scenario. Things just aren't working out. The competitors are targeting you and your market share is slipping. Growth and profit are both under pressure. Strategic Thinking is used as soon as possible to quickly agree strategy. All efforts and resources are then focused into developing operational initiatives and resolving the Critical Issues that have been identified.