Strategic thinking helps to grow companies
RESEARCH by the American Management Association, which surveyed nearly 2000 global executives on leadership competencies, found that while most people rated strategic thinking as the most important quality needed in a leader, this is not translating into good strategy on the ground.
Dr Grant Sieff, programme director of strategic thinking and execution for growth at the University of Cape Town's graduate school of business (GSB), says that the most remarkable thing about strategic thinking is that it doesn't happen often enough.
"We've come from a world where we used to plan for a stable future, but now everything is more volatile. And in this context, strategic thinking and implementation are vital. Good strategic thinking uncovers opportunities for creating value and challenges assumptions about a company's value proposition, so that it can capitalise on these," he says.
Sieff says in South Africa and most developing economies, volatility is more extreme but so are opportunities.
"South African businesses have the opportunity and tyranny of having to grapple with both the developed world and the emerging market. The problem in the developed world is that growth is slow, it's beset with recession and the developing world, with faster growth rates, is beset with infrastructure challenges. We can strategically leap frog - to overcome problems that may exist because of a lack of infrastructure - through the use of technology or new products or services. Our strategic playing field is bountiful. We just need to skill people," Sieff says.
In response, the GSB programme assists business leaders to reposition ideas and strategy as an integral part of their business models.
The programme focuses on how to direct, build ownership as well as alignment among staff to implement change - using case studies, reflective questions, small group work and current strategic dilemmas.
It will provide executives with frameworks and tools needed to think and engage effectively as well as to implement strategy that builds organisational resilience and delivers results.
A core focus is on value transformation, from concept to communication and delivery.
"Business needs to wake up and grow the 4% of strategic thinkers to 100% - and not just at leadership level. Everyone should be a strategic thinker to deliver the best service and to lift the level of contribution," Sieff says.
Strategic thinking and execution for growth runs from August 20 to 23. To apply, or for further information contact Iona Gutuza at (021)406-1368 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org Visit www.gsb.uct.ac.za/strat