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The Value of Strategic Thinking

Often I am asked about the success of Eagle, and what factors have contributed to our growth. One of the things that I point at is our quarterly Planning Sessions where the management team will step back from the day to day grind to look at our business a little differently.

Today was day one, of our two day session, for this quarter and I always have the same feeling about these sessions. Heading into them I hate the prospect of devoting two full days to an activity that does not have direct impact on business today! I know how important they are, and I understand the value, and yet I am so busy in my day to day operations that I resent the prospect of leaving the office for a couple of days.

Once the session starts the value is apparent! A couple of hours in to it I am immersed and excited about the prospects from such a meeting. It does not take long to remember that we have probably made all of our strategic decisions at meetings just like this one.

The staffing industry, like many others, is a fast paced environment and there are always issues to address, fires to fight and a multitude of tasks up in the air. The problem for people who do not get away from the office to think about the business is that they can get myopic. They become totally focused on the day to day tactical issues and totally miss the higher return strategic ideas. Personally I find it almost impossible to be effective tactically, and strategically, at the same time. I need that separation in order to get some creativity flowing and to be crystal clear about the challenges being faced and the potential solutions.

Whatever business you have I would recommend taking time away from the day to day, in a different environment and thinking through the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats ... even if it is not in that structured way. For me there needs to be a few different perspectives represented there, but it is also possible to have too many people. The power of strategic planning does not always need a methodology and outside facilitators, but they can bring value too.

The most important thing is to never get stale, you need to take the blinkers off and make strategic decisions away from the buzz of everyday life.