Everything I Need To Know About Strategy I Learned At The National Zoo. By: Jeanne M. Liedtka

15 01 2010

OMG! What is Strategic Thinking? Huh!?!?

The zoo is apparently a good place to learn about strategic thinking and Liedka explains what was learned while watching the orangutans interact in their environment.

Strategic Thinking versus strategic planning, “invites all employees at all levels into the strategic conversation and engages them as a result.” Strategic thinking includes image, intention, and flexibility.

These are the main qualities of an Effective Strategy:

  • IMAGE- “Image is a mental representation of something not present”Image is seen differently by different people. External: To think strategically you must do things that are not natural, like getting beyond your own system of relationships (considering all customers, all lenders, and all employees). You need a big picture beyond  your own understanding. Internal: It is important to understand the viewpoints of all the departments in the company and build relationships to get to know the “big picture.” Effective communication is the key for these relationships to succeed. Future of External and Internal: Companies need to be constantly innovating and improving their image to grow for the future. Relationships need to be improving daily, and change is necessary if you want to improve. Staying the same means you are always going to get the same results you’ve always gotten. You need to try and look at the competition and grow, or you will become stagnant.
  • INTENTION- There needs to be a commitment to changing and implementing the plans and strategies you have created. It changes from “why am I doing this” and going beyond that to ask “what does this mean for me and the company?” Actually caring enough to make it a personal purpose and not just the company’s purpose. Make sure to focus to achieve your goal.
  • FLEXIBILITY- Learning, not knowing, is the key to success. It is important to be open to changing your original plans in hopes to make them better. Be flexible! It is important to find what works and what doesn’t work. If it doesn’t work- change it!

So to wrap it up…

  1. “Without focus, the risks of dissipating and squandering the psychic energy of employees is great. If I’m not able to make sense out of my role in the big picture and channel my efforts accordingly, nothing much happens.” Jeanne Liedtka
  2. “When we add caring to seeing, we add intention to image, and we add purpose to plans.” Jeanne Liedtka

Strategy Defined:

  • Strategy is having an image, being intentional to achieve your goals, and being flexible in discovering success.



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