EOS® Develops Strategic Management Thinking

Strategy matters at every level of a business. The Entrepreneurial Operating System® is all about giving its companies the tools they need to make strategic management easier, and strategic thinking more efficient.

Strategic management versus strategic thinking

Most business leaders differentiate between strategic management and strategic thinking.

As the name implies, strategic management is something done by the leadership group of a business. It has a few key features:

  • A focus on meeting long-term objectives.
  • Analysis of the business as a whole and how each of its parts fits together.
  • Shaping the organization’s grand narrative: its vision and values.
  • Crafting process and policy to guide day-to-day work.
  • It arises through the collaboration of a management team, whether that’s two people or a dozen.

Strategic thinking, on the other hand, is not so much an approach to management as an approach to solving problems. Because it is a skill everyone can develop and practice on their own, strategic thinking can be fostered at every level of an organization. Creativity is at the heart of strategic thinking. It asks everyone to be active participants in finding better ways to do things, whether that’s organizing supplies in the copy room or managing complex projects for clients.

Who does the strategic thinking in an EOS® business?

The usual description of strategic management should sound familiar to every Integrator. Putting all the pieces of a business together into a harmonious whole is the primary aim of every Integrator. But the practical work of executing the plans developed at quarterly and annual meetings falls to the entire management team.

Encouraging strategic thinking throughout an organization can be a powerful for several reasons. When problems are being solved by the people in the trenches, management is relieved of being the only source of answers. Everyone in the organization can feel empowered to take greater ownership in their work. A culture of constant improvement can even make strategic thinking into a group process.

I work with a construction business that makes strategic thinking a centerpiece of its safety program. They were struggling with minor safety incidents among their crews, which was creating staffing challenges and driving up costs.

Rather than continuing to rely on managers to police the safety practices of their employees, they incorporated strategic thinking into their training sessions. As a result, each member of their team became more thoughtful about safety at every step of their work, and their incident rate went way down.

Why not both?

The EOS Toolbox™ includes a mix of both strategic management and strategic thinking. By improving strategic thinking among the leadership team, their strategic management can only get better.

The IDS™ process is a good example. It is a form of strategic thinking that can be used by an individual working alone just as easily as it can be used by a team to tackle complex challenges. Working alone, the Discussion portion of the process might instead need to be a solo brainstorming session instead. The key is to be deliberate, flexible, and creative.

If a management team is taking a strategic thinking approach to their day-to-day work, it makes their sessions that much better when they come together to address questions of strategic management. A team is more than the sum of its parts, but when each part is thinking strategically, the result can be amazing.

Can there be too much of a good thing?

I work with a marketing agency that’s full of creative people. As they began moving into their second year of EOS, their team had incorporated the system’s ideas into everything they did. The whole organization could see the vision and goals in their V/TO™, which sparked conversations well beyond their Level 10 Meetings™. Everyone was coming up with great ideas for doing things better.

Their quarterlies turned into sorting sessions. There are so many good ideas to consider, it reminds us that even when strategic thinking is happening everywhere, the Integrator and other leaders within the organization need to make the right strategic management decisions. In their case, choosing the right rocks each quarter helps keep everyone focused.

Jumpstart your strategic thinking with EOS!

I’d love to share all that I’ve learned working with businesses large and small as they get started with their EOS journey. If you’d like to know more, give me a call at (818) 649-1103 or send me an email to schedule a time to chat. I’m looking forward to talking with you!