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Scott Cullen

Govia Thameslink Railway

Customer Service Coach

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Strategic thinking



For an interview this Friday, I have asked to put together 2x30 minute training sessions, one being on change management and the other on Strategic thinking.

Does anyone have anything or can point me in the right direction for material/content/exercises for Strategic thinking?



4 Responses

  1. Some topical ideas

    Hi Scott

    First of good luck for Friday.

    I was thinking about your question re strategic thinking, and the current Euro Zone challenges came to mind – a great example of strategic thinking stretching back to the 1920s that has now been reduced to almost daily tactical solutions to stave off the disintegration of the Euro.

    It would be a topical discussion and highlights the difference between a strategy and tactical solutions. I guess it also highlights that a strategy needs to be dynamic not fixed!! It also shows that any long term strategy needs to be underpinned by short term tactics!

    As an exercise you could get delegates to forecast the outcome and identify the reasons the strategy has run into problems.

    You could compare this with a successful strategy such as facebook and discuss the differences.

    I hope this helps.

    Sylva Jolliffe



  2. Strategic Thinking

    Strategic thinking deals with getting from where one is to where one desires to go with the least amount of time and effort.  

    Step 1-   Define the problem with good research

    Step 2-  Define the desired outcome

    step 3- Research possible options including out of the box thinking

    Step 4-  Bring the right people to the table who have expertise in solutions or options which might solve the problem.

    Step 4-  Finalize the best solution

    Step 5- Bring the players to the table who best are able to bring the peices together necessary to  solve the problem

    Step 6-  Research the key intersection points on the way to the solution.

    Step 7- Overcome problems that come in the way.

    Step 8-  Evaluate progress

    Step 9-  Celebrate reaching the desired outcome.



  3. Exercises for Strategic Thinking


    There are a couple of good responses on here. You may want to consider a couple of exercises I’ve used before.

    The first covers strategic thinking using the analogy of a train journey. Start by saying, "We are going on holiday – and you may ask one question." The questions will be around how long for, where, when, who with etc. I put ‘where’ at the top of a flipchart and tell the audience we are going by train. All the other questions are ‘stations’ en-route. What rarely gets asked is ‘where from’ and many strategies fail because businesses don’t know their starting point. There is then the choice of an express route or a country route which takes longer. This exercise covers internal and external considerations, to encourage strategic thinking.

    For the second exercise, I use a Formula 1 race; initially asking, "What is your desired outcome in this race?" Most people say that the intention is to win. However, new teams have a strategy of having a car capable of finishing the race. Others may want to get into the top-ten and these are good analogies to the strategic thinking in business. If you are relatively new to the industry, you are not going to be the top seller, so what is a realistic vision. Then, to encourage strategic thinking, return to the Formula 1 race and say, "One of your main competitors comes in for a pit-stop earlier than expected. What would you want to know that may effect your strategy?" The intention of this question is to demonstrate an emergent strategy, based on competitor analysis.

    Both of these can be done in 30 minutes.

    Good luck for Friday and if I can be of any further help then please let me know. 

  4. Thanks

    Hello all,

    Thanks for the ideas and input.

    The interview has now been pushed back due to the recruiting manager being off sick – however this does give me more time look at your ideas and see how I can incorporate these into the session.

    Will keep you updated!!



Author Profile Picture
Scott Cullen

Customer Service Coach

Read more from Scott Cullen

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