Anticipation and Strategic Thinking

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Anticipation and Strategic Thinking

Career development is about constructing a future that
grows your professional responsibilities and rewards.
The day-to-day nuts and bolts of career development
are about a far more persistent yet mundane type of
future awareness. Anticipation is an important key to
understanding business. And anticipation is the means
of getting control of everyday management.

Recently I spoke with a quality assurance director.
He was telling me how he uses strategic thinking in
his department. He's responsible for all the
materials used in manufacturing at his company; and
that includes manufacturing that may be hired out to
other companies. To efficiently check all incoming
materials at all manufacturing locations, he needed to
know where the ingredients came from before they were
shipped. Otherwise he was left to checking paperwork
at the receiving dock. To get ahead of the shipments
he needed an extensive log of all the supplier
companies his company used as vendors. He found that
his purchasing department already had such a log.

But, that wasn't the end of it. He anticipated that
distributors would at times switch their suppliers;
therefore he went to each distributor and requested a
list of their suppliers for the ingredients he was
purchasing. With that list he could audit all the
sub-suppliers and know in advance the quality of their
products. He had contacts at each of those companies
if problems arose. Basically, he anticipated problems
and set up a system to resolve those problems quickly
as they arose.

The key to strategic thinking is to see how things
move along in a progression. If you can look
backwards and see how the current situation developed
and then attempt to anticipate the next steps, you've
become visionary. With this type of historical
vision, you can compare present circumstances with
previous circumstances, looking for differences that
might need attention. The strategic part is to build
a plan that uses the vision and the analysis for best