Are you thinking efficiently or effectively?  This is a question I heard posed by my friend, Wissam Al-Hussaini, during his delivery of one of the three modules in a new program at Schulich called Beyond Project Management.

His section was all about thinking strategically. His point was very simple. Do you think about what you need to do each day, or do you take time to think about what you need to do over the next months or years?

Thinking effectively is the key to success for any organization regardless of size, market segment or otherwise.  Are you doing the right thing, pursuing the right markets, growing at the right pace, developing business in the right area and so on?

Whether you assign this role to one person, or take it on yourself, or create an advisory group, it is essential to set time aside to think beyond today.

I have a hard time with this part of my business.  There seems to be a never-ending list of work to be done to keep the engine running. Sometimes I think the summer months will be a great time to sit back and think strategically about my business but that really doesn’t happen. My list of work to get done does not shrink in the summer. I still get consumed by everything, including the need for some personal down time. That ‘strategic thinking’ phase never seems to happen.

I recently started to take a different approach to this, knowing my limitations. I’ve recently created an advisory board and scheduled a series of regular meetings throughout the year. This step has forced me to prepare for the meetings and to spend time on the strategic direction of my business. My advisors are dedicating their time to me and the future of my business, so I had better do the same.

We all very different in the way we approach our current days and our futures.  Some of us need scheduled time while others are able to casually keep our eye on that future ball over time. Frankly, some of us can’t do either so we will hire specialists to take care of this part of the business. Think ‘Chief Strategy Officer’.

Regardless of how you do it, just do it. Thinking effectively is all about the future and that time is not far off.

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