Learning to Think Strategically  book cover
3rd Edition

Learning to Think Strategically

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ISBN 9781138684751
Published October 25, 2016 by Routledge
286 Pages - 12 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Strategic thinking has become a core competency for business leaders globally. Overused and under-defined, the term is often used interchangeably with other strategic management terms. This textbook delineates and defines strategic thinking as a conceptual cognitive capability, focusing on the nonlinear, divergent, and informal nature of strategic thinking.

In this third edition of a popular text, the author provides an unconventional definition and model for strategic thinking based on critical theory. This research-based book introduces the concept as the foundation of business strategy that is distinct from strategic planning and strategic implementation.

New features, including executive summaries and key critical reflective questions, along with new and updated figures, make the book vital reading for MBA, leadership development, and executive education students. The practical nature of this book also makes it valuable for business and policy executives, managers, and emerging leaders.

Table of Contents

Part 1: How Did We Get Here? 

1. Chronology of Strategy 

2. Contemporary Competing Views of Strategy  

3. Implications of the History of Strategy History for Strategic Learning 

Part 2: How Do We Learn to Think Strategically? 

4. Definition of Strategic Thinking 

5. Informal and Formal Learning Defined 

6. Formal Learning Refuted 

7. Context and Learning Transfer as Factors in the Strategic Thinking Process  

8. The Triangle Model 

Part 3: What Does Learning to Think Strategically Look Like? 

9. Preparation Stage 

10. Experience Stage 

11. Re-evaluation Stage 

Part IV: How Can We Get Started? 

12. Overview of Learning Domains Used for Strategic Thinking 

13. The Surf and Dive Learning Domains 

Part 5: How Can we Talk About All this? 

14. The Role of Dialogue in the Strategic Thinking Process 

15. What is the Role of Inquiry in Critical Dialogue? 

Part 5: Why Does Some of This Feel So Familiar?

16. Intuition as a Must-Have for Learning to Think Strategically

17. Framing and the Intuition Factor

18. Shattering Frames 

19. Reframing 

Part 7: . . . But What About the Numbers? 

20. The Roles of Analysis and Intuition in Strategic Decision Making 

21. Decision-Making Approaches to Strategic Thinking 

22. Coordination Intuition and Analysis to Facilitate Strategic Thinking 

Part 8: What Role Does Culture Play? 

23. The Role of Culture in Strategic Thinking 

24. The Challenge of Introducing Strategic Thinking Across Cultures 

Part 9: Is Anybody Born With This Know-How? 

25. The Five Critical Attributes 

26. Interplay of the Five Attributes 

27. Adaptation as a Strategic Expectation 

Part 10: How Can We Become Better Strategic Thinkers?

28. Developing the Five Essential Attributes 

29. Developing the Critical-Reflective Processes 

30. Where We’ve Come From and Where We Can Go: Some Suggestions

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Julia Sloan is Principal of Sloan International Inc., a New York-based firm specializing in strategic thinking for leaders of businesses, government, and international agencies operating in markets of Asia, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and North America. She received her doctorate in organizational leadership from Columbia University, where she teaches strategic thinking.


'Sloan has written an exceptional, comprehensive book on the learning aspect of strategic thinking that makes a unique contribution to the strategy literature. Based on a masterful examination of how we learn to think strategically, this book offers an insightful, unconventional, and original proposition for developing strategic thinkers. Sloan is both erudite and practical in her approach. Highly recommended for policy and business leaders who aspire to strengthen strategic thinking.' - Professor Kenneth Paul Tan, Vice Dean, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore; author of forthcoming Routledge book Governing Global-City Singapore

'At the heart of strategy is the strategist, so it follows both that the strategic thinking of individuals is worth developing. Julia’s book clearly shows how people can learn to become better strategists, which is why it is so valuable for executive development.' - Dr. Max McKeown, author of The Strategy Book and #NOW

'The starting point for many writers who focus on strategy is on the process side of strategy-making. Sloan is a pioneer in helping us understand that process and planning are necessary, yet insufficient elements of what it takes to be a successful strategic thinker. In her third edition Sloan takes us further and deeper in our comprehension of what it means to think strategically within complex environments and how to build strategic capacity. A must-read for executives and leaders aspiring to build strategic organizations.' - Professor Ross Harrison, School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University, USA; author of Strategic Thinking in 3D: A Guide for National Security, Foreign Policy and Business Professionals

'Dr. Sloan uses her astute research acumen to judiciously detail the findings of how successful executives from different cultures learned to think strategically; then compiled them into this important book. This discerning and unconventional work will stimulate you to learn to think differently, and to eventually evolve your own strategy within an uncontrollable, unpredictable business environment. Most highly recommended book for business and policy leaders.' - Ahmed Elsherbini A. Ibrahim, Brigadier General; former Egyptian Defense Attaché to Beijing, China