My blog friend Mark Safranski’s recent musings on the nature and sources of strategic thinking brought to mind an old politically incorrect joke whose punchline is Know how; need chance. He opens the post with a substantial list of strategic thinkers and then tries to find commonalities among them. I found his list of commonalities uncompelling. I don’t think these commonalities illuminate what strategic thinking is comprised of but rather what circumstances provide the greatest opportunity for strategic thinking.
For all we know the greatest strategic thinker of all time is sticking components onto a circuit board in Chengdu. We’ll never have the opportunity to see the results of her strategic thinking because she’s just struggling to make money to send to her parents back on the farm.