How to Achieve Higher Project Management Performance — in an Infographic from Exceptional PPM and PMO Solutions™




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Companies benefit from professional maturity, which enables them to translate organizational strategy into success, drive business improvement, and gain a competitive edge. High performance is associated with project management maturity. Our partners at Exceptional PPM and PMO Solutions have a downloadable infographic with practical tips on how to effectively advance professional project management practices and maturity levels. The file is available
here.

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© Copyright 2017 Scott M. Graffius. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the express written permission of Scott M. Graffius.





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Four Ways to Improve Your Strategic Thinking Skills Today



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Strategic thinking is often considered essential to an organization's successful performance. Some have even advocated for companies to develop the strategic thinking skills of their executives and other staff as a core competency. How can strategic thinking skills be developed? But first, here's a definition.

“Strategic thinking is a distinctive management activity whose purpose is to discover novel, imaginative strategies which can rewrite the rules of the competitive game; and to envision potential futures significantly different from the present. Furthermore, strategic thinking is specified as being conceptual, systems-oriented, directional (linking the future with the past), and opportunistic.”
— Ellen F. Goldman


In other words, strategic thinking is a process used to broaden an individual's perspective to achieve successful outcomes such as competitive advantage. And it can happen at every level of the organization; it's not just for executives.

Here are four specific things you can do to improve your strategic thinking skills.

1. Schedule Time for Strategic Thinking

You are investing in your success as well as that of the organization. Find the time to focus on strategic thinking. A tip is to place a recurring event on your calendar to reserve time for strategic thinking activities.

2. Monitor the Big Picture Including Trends

The default focus at most organizations is on what’s directly ahead. However, "peripheral vision"—including keeping sight of the big picture and industry trends—is essential for long-term success. Some tips follow. Keep abreast of industry organizations and publications. Build external networks to help you best scan the competitive landscape. Determine the unique perspective that your role provides, and define its favorable impact on the organization’s vision, mission, and/or strategic objectives.

3. Ask Questions to Uncover Patterns

Further to your mindfulness of the big picture and understanding of changes in the industry, you can put strategic thinking to work by asking yourself and others questions. A few examples follow. "What if _____?" questions are frequently effective in helping one "see around the corner." And variations such as "If _____, then _____?" often yield insights as well.


4. Embrace Uncertainty and Conflict

Strategic thinking involves envisioning the future and potential proactive ways the organization can change to remain competitive and successful. You should accept that the future is uncertain, and challenging assumptions by asking questions and other tactics may make some people uncomfortable. Remaining mindful of those aspects will help you stay the course in regularly practicing strategic thinking and securing the benefits summarized in this article.

Conclusion

By sharpening your strategic thinking skills, you benefit both yourself and your organization. It helps you make a greater contribution to the business—which may also support your advancement—and it helps the company enjoy greater competitive advantage and long-term success. So, start work on your strategic thinking skills today!

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Bibliography

Atsmon, Yuval (2017, May 2). How to Unleash Your Strategic Thinking. Digital article. McKinsey & Company.

Bonn, Ingrid (2005, June). Improving Strategic Thinking: A Multilevel Approach.
Leadership & Organization Development Journal, 26 (5). DOI: 10.1108/01437730510607844.

Cowan, N. (2001, February). The Magical Number 4 in Short-Term Memory: A Reconsideration of Mental Storage Capacity.
Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 24 (1): 87-119.

Dixit, Avinash K. and Nelebuff, Barry J. (1993).
Thinking Strategically: The Competitive Edge in Business, Politics, and Everyday Life. New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Company.

Goldman, Ellen F. (2007, Summer). Strategic Thinking at the Top.
MIT Sloan Management Review, 48 (4): 75-81.

Graffius, Scott M. (2016).
Thinking Strategically and Acting Tactically. Winnetka, CA: Exceptional PPM and PMO Solutions.

Reynolds, K. (2013). Strategic Thinking for Today's Project Managers. Paper presented at PMI Global Congress 2013—North America, New Orleans, LA. Newtown Square, PA: Project Management Institute.

Syrett, Michael and Devine, Marion (2012).
Managing Uncertainty: Strategies for Surviving and Thriving in Turbulent Times. London, United Kingdom: Profile Books.

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About the Author

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Scott M. Graffius is an agile project management consultant, practitioner, award-winning author, and keynote speaker. Content from his books, speaking engagements, and more has been used by businesses, governments, and universities, including Gartner, Cisco, RSA, Ford, Qantas, Atlassian, Bayer, the United States Department of Energy, the New Zealand Ministry of Education, Tufts University, Texas A&M, and others. Thinkers360 named Scott a Top 20 Global Thought Leader and Influencer.

His full bio is available here.

Connect with Scott on:


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About Agile Scrum: Your Quick Start Guide with Step-by-Step Instructions

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Shifting customer needs are common in today's marketplace. Businesses must be adaptive and responsive to change while delivering an exceptional customer experience to be competitive.

There are a variety of frameworks supporting the development of products and services, and most approaches fall into one of two broad categories: traditional or agile. Traditional practices such as waterfall engage sequential development, while agile involves iterative and incremental deliverables. Organizations are increasingly embracing agile to manage projects, and best meet their business needs of rapid response to change, fast delivery speed, and more.

With clear and easy to follow step-by-step instructions,
Scott M. Graffius's award-winning Agile Scrum: Your Quick Start Guide with Step-by-Step Instructions helps the reader:

  • Implement and use the most popular agile framework―Scrum;
  • Deliver products in short cycles with rapid adaptation to change, fast time-to-market, and continuous improvement; and
  • Support innovation and drive competitive advantage.

Hailed by Literary Titan as “the book highlights the versatility of Scrum beautifully.”

Winner of 17 first place awards.

Agile Scrum: Your Quick Start Guide with Step-by-Step Instructions is available in paperback and ebook/Kindle in the United States and around the world. Some links by country follow.



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About
Agile Transformation: A Brief Story of How an Entertainment Company Developed New Capabilities and Unlocked Business Agility to Thrive in an Era of Rapid Change

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Thriving in today's marketplace frequently depends on making a transformation to become more agile. Those successful in the transition enjoy faster delivery speed and ROI, higher satisfaction, continuous improvement, and additional benefits.

Based on actual events,
Agile Transformation: A Brief Story of How an Entertainment Company Developed New Capabilities and Unlocked Business Agility to Thrive in an Era of Rapid Change provides a quick (60-90 minute) read about a successful agile transformation at a multinational entertainment and media company, told from the author's perspective as an agile coach.

The award-winning book by
Scott M. Graffius is available in paperback and ebook/Kindle in the United States and around the world. Some links by country follow.



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The short link for this article is
https://bit.ly/4-strategic.
This article was first published here. Later—on August 24, 2021—the article was posted to LinkedIn
here as well.


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© Copyright 2020 Scott M. Graffius. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the express written permission of Scott M. Graffius.




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