Considering Internal Factors
In your quest for the bigger picture, examine the internal context of your organization — in particular, your organization’s internal direction and stakeholders.
Vision and strategic direction
A key element of strategic thinking is aligning what you do with your organization’s vision and strategic direction. If each part of an organization moves in the same direction — your internal direction — that vision is much more likely to become a reality.
Maybe your organization’s vision includes achieving efficient and eco-friendly production. To support this, you might consider reducing your department’s use of materials and focus on implementing processes that minimize waste harmful to the environment. Now your department aligns with the company’s vision.
Align your goals
That was a quick answer to a complex problem, so let’s examine a process you can follow to align your department’s goals with your organization’s strategic plans.
First, find out what your organization’s strategic plans are. Review planning documentation, read company reports or track your organization’s investments to discover what direction it’s heading in.
Next, if you really want to get a deeper understanding of your organization’s vision, talk with other people. A conversation with other managers or supervisors will give you an insight into what they’re doing to achieve strategic goals and help you figure out what else your department could be doing.
You should also consider what goals your department could set to help bring the organization closer to achieving its strategic goals. Ask yourself what plans you already have in place, and if these actually help the organization’s overall strategy.
And finally, try to balance short- and long-term requirements with your organization’s goals. Discuss with your boss what weight to give to different requirements, keep a log, and review how well your department is keeping a balance. Check in with your team members for their ideas on how to create this balance too.
Concerns of internal stakeholders
Once you have an understanding of your organization’s internal direction, it’s time to consider the concerns of internal stakeholders. Remember, what you do — your decisions and actions — will likely impact many others, including your supervisor, managers from other teams, and your own reports.
So first try to identify all the potential stakeholders. Create a list of people likely to be affected by your decisions — what are their roles, goals, responsibilities, and relationships to you and your department?
Once you’ve identified these stakeholders, get information directly from them. Let them know what your ideas or plans are and ask them for their feedback. Also ask about problems they foresee and possible solutions to them.
After gathering your stakeholders’ feedback, you can then start to address their concerns. Discuss your intentions further with them, and listen to their ideas — this will help you solve problems and align your work with organizational goals.
Keeping internal factors in mind is not just about figuring out what your organization’s vision is — it’s also about helping your department fit into it. And remember — get stakeholders involved in the process so you can see the bigger picture.