New Resources for Strategic Thinking

It’s been an absolute joy to be working with HMRC again this year delivering the Strategic Thinking Masterclass to their ‘Ascend’ cohort of aspiring senior leaders.

Keen to refresh the offering from last year I’ve been doing a bit of digging to find some new resources.

I’m always very keen to ensure that the resources that I recommend will work in the Public Sector context, which has some significant and unique challenges. It frustrates me how much of what I see applied here is just transferred wholesale from the private sector without any real appreciation for the complexity, ambiguity and political dimensions that constrains us.

This little book on ‘Strategy Workout’ does not address complexity directly, but is fairly free from many of the private sector cliches. It is an easy read; a useful ‘how to’ guide for some of the basic building block tools of strategic thinking and strategy development.

If you want to try something a bit meatier on the issue of complexity and Strategic Thinking, then try this from Arnaud Chevallier.

The blurb on the back says “Strategic Thinking in Complex Problem Solving is a tool kit that integrates theoretical and empirical evidence from many disciplines and explains it in accessible terms. As the book guides you through the various stages of solving complex problem, it also provides templates to help you easily apply these approaches to your own personal projects.”

The methods advocated in this book hinge on good questions, and I love the refrain ‘look for alternatives not processes’. There’s a lot of good stuff in here of real value to the Public Sector.

Working with leaders in the Public Sector it has become clear that the real value of the use of models is around the conversations they create. I always encourage people to reflect on and attempt to capture the learning in these peripheral paces. The ‘finished’ model doesn’t always tell the complete story. That said, there are ways to capture strategy development in a visual way.

I’ve recently stumbled across the work of Simon Wardley and find what he says refreshingly honest and incredibly helpful. Make yourself a cup of tea and watch the video below. ( You can find him on twitter @swardley. )

I’d love to hear if you’ve discovered great resources that help us grapple with complexity and strategy mapping, or if you’d like me to come and help apply some of this stuff in your organisation. Drop me an e-mail of come say hi on twitter.