Strategy is a Learning Process

Every organizational leader with any hope of leading his organization to successfully achieve its goals needs to develop a strategic mindset in his organization. Strategy determines the direction in which the organization is going in relation to its environment (Jain, 2014); it is the vision, the directions, and the tactics adopted to move toward success (Hughes et al., 2013). As an effective strategic leader, one must facilitate the process of strategic thinking through the organization (Hughes et al., 2013), empowering members throughout the organization to think strategically. Though it is important for the leader to be a strategic thinker, it is vital for others to be strategic thinkers as well, because no matter how brilliant a strategy may be, it is the people who must understand and implement the strategy (Cowan & Todorovic, 2000).

It is for this reason strategic leaders need to develop a mechanism that develops strategic thinking in others. At its core, strategy is a learning process for all involved that is more about discovery than determination (Hughes et al., 2013). It is more than determining a solution, it is about allowing a solution to emerge through the work (Hughes et al., 2013). A possible learning process for strategic leaders to implement could contain points of self assessment such as: assessing where an individual is, understanding one’s self and personal direction and performance, identifying the steps to achieve one’s goal, taking action on the identified steps, and make progress checks along the way (Hughes et al., 2013).

Anyone can be strategic, and for an organization to be effective and successful, everyone needs to be strategic on some level. With an effective learning process to develop strategic thinking through the organization, anything is possible.

Does this learning process work for smaller, nonprofit organizations such as churches?


Cowan, C. C., & Todorovic, N. (2000). Spiral dynamics:: the layers of human values in strategy. Strategy & Leadership, 28(1), 4–12.

Hughes, R. L., Beatty, K. C., & Dinwoodie, D. L. (2014). Becoming a strategic leader: your role in your organization’s enduring success (Second edition). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Jain, M. (2014). Organizational Effectiveness and Strategic HR. Journal of Social Welfare & Management, 6(4), 199–207.

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