CIL 2011 Thinking Strategically & Critically: Seeing possibilities


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  • In today’s world we are seeing & experiencing things we’ve never seen or experienced beforeSo our usual way of viewing situations, designing solutions & crafting strategies is no longer validEven the way we craft those strategiesFor the next 30 minutes or so, let’s look at ways of taking the long, horizontal & vertical view of situations – and adjusting our lens
  • Why do we hate strategic planning?Why do we then equate strategic thinking with strategic planning?
  • The whole purpose of thinking strategically is to take steps, real tasks, that are strategic – that aren’t just to put out a fire today but that will ensure sustainability & success over the next 2-3 years – hopefully over the next 5 years - it is NOT to produce a strategic plan – that’s the secondary outcomeThe most important thing is that all library employees are thinking strategically & engaged, not in a make work project that they never see again, but in a planning conversation that involves them in decisions regarding what the library’s focus is & will be – and to make decisions for their communities & campuses & companies as they are today & will be tomorrow, NOT as they have been for the past 10 years
  • Marshall Breeding – we send users OUT to other content on the web, we don’t bring them in….WHY, when we do a google search don’t libraries appear in the top results??????
  • Henry Mintzberg (1994), one of the leading authorities in the area of strategicmanagement, by contrast, clearly emphasizes that strategic thinking is not merely “alternative nomenclature for everything falling under the umbrella of strategicmanagement”. It is a particular way of thinking with specific and clearly discerniblecharacteristics. In explaining the difference between strategic planning and strategicthinking, Mintzberg argues that strategic planning is the systematic programming ofpre-identified strategies from which an action plan is developed. Strategic thinking,on the other hand, is a synthesizing process utilizing intuition and creativity whoseoutcome is “an integrated perspective of the enterprise.” The problem, as he sees it,is that traditional planning approaches tend to undermine, rather than appropriately4SystemsPerspectiveIntelligentOpportunismIntent FocusThinking in TimeHypothesis DrivenStrategicThinkingFigure 1: The Elements of Strategic ThinkingFrom Jeanne M. Liedtka: Strategic Thinking: Can it be Taught?integrate, strategic thinking and this tends to impair successful organizationaladaptation. These sentiments are echoed by two other leading theorists in the field, Prahalad andHamel (1989), who describe traditional approaches to planning as “form filling.” They refer to strategic thinking as “crafting strategic architecture” but emphasizeMintzberg’s general themes of creativity, exploration, and understandingdiscontinuities.For Ralph Stacey (1992), strategic thinking is “. .
  • Reframes it, doesn’t it?
  • Framing – SHOULD occur at the outset of the problem-solving or decision-making – cuz it is all about defining the question that needs to be addressed – framing the task and the process – answer How am I framing this? Are there other ways to frame it? Is our frame shaping our solution? Is a win/win frame possible?
  • Like all investments, it takes time -- & it should take time
  • First, what Strategic thinking is & is not. It is NOT about “pie in the sky”
  • Step into that future – design it by being there -
  • Strategy needs to be experienced -
  • Why do visions have a bum rap? -- everyone has their own reference point or “frame” through which they are “seeing that future” – or, they aren’t really “seeing” a future at all – they are writing a vision statement
  • This was the clipart in choices – right in there with “success
  • Requires peripheral vision emerging technologies to changes in consumer tastes, tremendous opportunities and threats often begin as weak signals from the periphery. How good is your organization at sensing, interpreting and acting on these signals? Day and Schoemaker, who lead the Mack Center for Technological Innovation at the Wharton School, call this capability peripheral vision; their research shows that less than 20 percent of firms have developed it in sufficient capacity to remain competitive.In their book, they describe a systematic process for developing peripheral vision and offer tools and strategies for building "vigilant organizations" that are constantly attuned to changes in the environment. Through case studies ranging from LED lighting to low-carb foods to children's dolls, they show how vigilant organizations win by: scoping widely and asking the right questions; scanning actively in the right places; interpreting what signals mean; probing carefully for more information; and acting wisely on signals before competitors do.The book is organized around a seven-step process for understanding and enhancing peripheral vision. The first five steps focus on directly improving the process of receiving, interpreting and acting on weak signals from the periphery. The first step, scoping, concerns how widely to look and what issues to address (Chapter 2). Managers can use a set of guiding questions to ensure that their focus is neither too broad nor too narrow, avoiding being overwhelmed or missing important parts of the picture. After the initial scope is determined, the next step is how to scan within the selected areas (Chapter 3). This chapter offers tools and approaches for detecting signals in different parts of the periphery, including inside the firm, customers and competitors, emerging technologies, and influencers and shapers.
  • CuriousDon’t understand, don’t see connection, Ask questionsSparks thots/ideas which are then connected to other thots/ideasConfident to try/risk – what’s the worst that can happenShanachies – Erik Boekesteijn & Jaap Van De Geer , DOK -- innovative library in the NetherlandsTalked ITI into funding first tour (some of my IL budget too) – from NYC to Monterey, Jamaica, Aust, NZ, CanadaBookThis Week in Libraries, TWIL -- interivews
  • Thanks to Frank Cervone – Is accommodating or avoiding contributing to the critical or strategic thinking?
  • CIL 2011 Thinking Strategically & Critically: Seeing possibilities

    1. 1. Thinking Strategically & Critically<br />Jane Dysart<br />Rebecca Jones<br />
    2. 2. Strategic plan or dentist visit?<br /><br />
    3. 3. Seeing Possibilities<br />Seeing Differently<br />Adjusting Views<br />
    4. 4. Focus for today<br />Viewing situations & solutions strategically<br />
    5. 5.
    6. 6. “it's too risky to NOT be different in this economy” <br />Stephen Abram, March 22, 2011<br />It’s too risky to NOT think differently… NOT question our assumptions……to NOT design our futures<br />Risk? I’ll show you risk…..<br />
    7. 7. Strategic Thinking<br />
    8. 8. Good Strategic & Critical Thinking<br />Raises the right questions – clearly & precisely<br />Focuses on the real problem or decision to be taken<br />Gathers & assesses relevant information<br />Uses abstract ideas to interpret info effectively<br />Develops well-reasoned conclusions & solutions, testing them against relevant criteria and standards<br />Relies on recognizing & assessing assumptions, implications, & consequences<br />Communicates effectively with others in figuring out solutions to complex problems<br />
    9. 9. Critical, not criticize<br />
    10. 10. Critical optimism is a responsibility<br />“Library Boards & staff when planning cannot be, by definition, pessimists. It just doesn’t go with the job. We’re supposed to be defining the future, aren’t we? [...] If we can’t see the world as a better place to live in, than what chance does anyone else have?”<br />“History tells us that before great library can happen, it first has to be a mission. And a mission starts with a dream. As library employees & advocates, we potentially hold enormous power. And with it comes responsibility. Wield it imaginatively and wisely. And optimistically.”<br />Richard Seymour, Optimistic Futurism in Interactions May-June 2008<br />
    11. 11. Openness, flexibility, adaptability<br />Articulating the goal<br />Clarifying assumptions<br />Questioning status quo<br />Facts<br />Focusing on the future<br />Strategic thinking is about:<br />
    12. 12. Clarifying assumptions<br />Your assumptions form your “frame” through which you “see” the situation<br />The questions we ask very often determine the type of answers we get<br />So……..<br />Don’t accept the first frame – or question<br />“re-frame” or look at the issue from different perspectives, particularly from customer or stakeholder perspectives<br />
    13. 13. Questioning Status-quo<br />Like it or not, tendency is to perpetuate what we already know <br />Psychologically risky<br />“breaking from the status quo means taking action, and when we take action, we take responsibility, thus opening ourselves to criticism and to regret.”<br />Hammond, Keeney, Raiffa<br />So…….<br />Focus on the goal & ask how status quo helps move towards them<br />Evaluate vs. all other alternatives IN TERMS OF THE FUTURE<br />Ask outsiders to review your evaluations<br />Kennedy & Jones, 2009<br />
    14. 14. “When you find yourself in a hole, the best thing you can do is stop digging.” <br />Warren Buffet<br />
    15. 15. Divest to Invest<br />
    16. 16. Facts<br />“…if you lack realism today, you may lack credibility tomorrow…” John Maxwell, Leadership Gold, 2010<br />
    17. 17. Focusing on the future<br />Stand in the future<br />
    18. 18. “Beyond Strategic Thinking” Jeanne Liedtka, Darden School of Business, University of Virginia, Rotman Magazine Winter 2011 p. 29+ (author of Designing for Growth, 2011) <br />
    19. 19. Impaired Vision? Different Views<br />Staff Vision<br />Board Vision<br />CEO Vision<br />My Vision<br />Your vision<br />
    20. 20. Everyone puts the blocks of action together & sees how their work fits<br />
    21. 21. Envisioned the Library as crowded, popular & easy to use as Chapters<br />
    22. 22. Strategic thinking<br /><ul><li>Take a wide scope
    23. 23. Ask the right questions
    24. 24. Scan actively in different places
    25. 25. Pay attention to signals
    26. 26. Explore for more info
    27. 27. Decide
    28. 28. Act</li></ul><br />
    29. 29. Communication skills<br />Listener<br />Self-awareness & self-acceptance<br />Ability to assess & evaluate information & propositions for their value on the issue at hand<br />Curiosity, interest & questioning capabilities<br />Skills & Attitudes<br />
    30. 30. Curiosity rarely, if ever kills the cat<br />
    31. 31. Awareness<br />Disciplining your decision-making to uncover thinking errors & prevent judgment errors<br />Curiousity<br />Trying it<br />What’s critical?<br />
    32. 32. Implicit that we can’t make decisions alone or in a vacuum or in the same way we always have<br />The decisions & problems we face are increasingly complex<br /> It’s hard, and it’s worth it<br />
    33. 33. We already have the courage it takes<br />Thx Frank for your slide (he’s Vice Chancellor for Information Services at Purdue University Calumet.<br />
    34. 34.
    35. 35. Consider following up with:<br /><ul><li>Rotman’s Business Journal:
    36. 36. Russell Ackoff’s, “Preparing for the Future through Idealized Design” in Winter 2007
    37. 37. Fall 2010 issue, It’s Complicated
    38. 38. Winter 2011 issue, Thinking about Thinking II
    39. 39. Roger Martin’s work on design thinking</li></li></ul><li><br /><br /><br /><br /> Aaron Schmidt<br /> Michael Stephens<br /> Stephen Abram<br /> World Future Society<br /> Marshall Breeding<br />Library of Congress Webcast series: Digital future<br />
    40. 40. And for critical thinking:<br />The Critical Thinking Community<br /><ul><li>Kramer, R. M., A. E. Tenbrunsel, and M. H. Bazerman, eds. Social Decision Making: Social Dilemmas, Social Values, and Ethical Judgments. Routledge, in press.
    41. 41. Bazerman, Max, and D. Moore. Judgment in Managerial Decision Making. 7th ed. John Wiley and Sons, Inc., 2008.
    42. 42. Milkman, Katherine L., Max H. Bazerman, and Dolly Chugh. "How Can Decision Making Be Improved?" Perspectives on Psychological Science (in press). Abstract
    43. 43. Raiffa, Howard, John S. Hammond, and Ralph L. Keeney. "The Hidden Traps in Decision Making." HBR Classic. Harvard Business Review 84, no. 1 (January 2006).
    44. 44. Hammond, John S., III, Ralph L. Keeney, and Howard Raiffa. Smart Choices: A Practical Guide to Making Better Decisions. Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 1998. (Paperback: Broadway Books, 2002</li></li></ul><li><br /><br />Thank you<br />