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Journal cover: Strategy & Leadership

Strategy & Leadership

ISSN: 1087-8572
Incorporates: The Antidote

Online from: 1975

Subject Area: Strategy

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Stretching strategic thinking

Document Information:
Title:Stretching strategic thinking
Author(s):Stan Abraham, (Stan Abraham, a Strategy & Leadership Contributing Editor, is professor of strategy and entrepreneurship at Cal Poly Pomona ( This article is based on his new book, Strategic Planning: A Practical Guide for Competitive Success (Thomson South-Western, 2006).)
Citation:Stan Abraham, (2005) "Stretching strategic thinking", Strategy & Leadership, Vol. 33 Iss: 5, pp.5 - 12
Keywords:Competitive strategy, Entrepreneurs, Strategic management
Article type:Conceptual paper
DOI:10.1108/10878570510616834 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited

PurposeThis author reminds us that strategic thinking is a critical part of every manager's job. Because strategy implies competing and outwitting competitors, so it follows that strategic thinking is the process of finding alternative ways of competing and providing customer value.

Design/methodology/approachDescribes how to systematically conduct the search for appropriate alternative strategies. Suggests that this “strategic thinking” should be a continuous process rather than only an annual strategic-planning process. Explains why coming up with the “right” strategy for a company that might increase stakeholder value, make it a stronger competitor, or find a competitive arena it can dominate can be done only through strategic thinking.

FindingsWhether a company has one person, a group, or everyone doing strategic thinking, the important things are that it is being done continuously and that the opportunities, alternative strategies, or different business models are periodically shared with other key people in the company. Only then is the company in a position to take appropriate action and only then can it reap the immense benefits of strategic thinking.

Research limitations/implicationsA case study of a strategic thinking initiative, its pitfalls, and its affect on corporate results would be valuable.

Practical implicationsShows how managers can stretch company thinking about different and better ways of competing, delivering customer value, and growing, top managers by exploring five approaches: Being successfully different; Emulating entrepreneurs; Finding new opportunities; Being future-oriented; Being collaborative

Originality/value of paperUp-to-date overview for top managers who want to encourage their direct reports to practice strategic thinking.

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