The management of strategy development is typically described in terms of strategic planning and analytical systems. Strategic thinking, however, is equally important. Getting to grips with a strategic thinking and planning process is central to creating business advantage and mastering the strategy challenge.
Strategic Thinking means getting a meeting of minds where collective creativity reveals novel, innovative strategies to create sustainable business advantage; and to create possibilities for success significantly different from those of the present. It is a divergent, creative, synergistic team effort.
Strategic Planning puts into operation the potential and possibilities developed through strategic thinking. It is a much more analytical, conventional and formal process.
Shared disciplines facilitate teamwork and allow organisational flexibility. People can work faster when they share a methodology and problem-solving framework (like the STP approach). While different approaches might work equally well, the important thing in a disciplined organisation is that everyone uses the same approach. People can stop wondering about how to get started, or arguing about whose way is better, and just get on with it. Teamwork increases and costs decrease in disciplined organisations when people share a methodology, they can discuss each others’ work and count on each others’ results.
The Strategic Thinking and Planning (STP) Model is a seven step system to enable us to create sustainable business advantage and accomplish our purpose and business objectives.
The seven stages in the process are:
The thinking part of The STP Model is the less tangible (less visible) early stages. It is emotional strategy in action. Its purpose is to discover innovative, imaginative strategies to create business advantage and successful futures for everyone.
The planning part of the model is the more operational and practically oriented later stages. Its purpose is to ‘tangibilise’ the thinking process. It is more formal, conventional and analytical.
The strength of the STP Model is its flexibility and the latitude it gives us to change it, update it, and keep it dynamic and alive.