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Introduction

Thinking is such a natural process that people do not often give much thought to it. However the importance of strategic thinking is critical for business success and this paper aims to shed some light on the topic. In order to better understand strategic thinking a logical starting point would be to define Thinking: Thinking may be described as the mental process of forming models in our mind. These models become frameworks around which perceptions are formed of current situations and drive further consideration of a wide range of challenges, questions, objectives and choices. (Liedtka, 2001) Businesses and their leaders are challenged to perform in a crowded and competitive global environment. Remaining competitive requires organizations to keep their strategic management process dynamic, continuously learning and adaptable, taking advantage of emerging opportunities while managing risk. Strategic thinking thus becomes a key competency for leaders and managers responsible for the design and deployment of business and functional strategies. Strategy has never been more challenging, or more important, than in today's environment of global competition, in which, corporate strategies must transcend the borders of nations and markets. Too many organizations try to be everything to everyone, wasting resources in markets that may never provide a worthwhile return on investment. (Dixit, 2001) Strategic Thinking is a planning process that applies innovation, strategic planning and operational planning to develop business strategies that have a greater chance for success. More and more organizations are learning that past experience is not always the best basis for developing future strategies. Strategic thinking is the "what:" and "why" of the planning process. It answers the question, "What should we be doing, and why?" Strategic Thinking requires innovation and creativity and includes a research phase to examine the voice of the customer, the employee and industry best practices. It is a process of examining everything we do in various roles, understanding the needs of customers and ensuring that all of this is linked to clearly define strategic imperatives. (Markides, 2003) The purpose of Strategic Thinking is to create a strategy that is a coherent, unifying, integrative framework for decisions especially about direction of the business and resource utilization. To do it, Strategic Thinking uses internal and external data, qualitative synthesis

of opinions and perceptions. It is conscious, explicit, and proactive and defines competitive domain for corporate strategic advantage. Strategy is a key outcome of a relevant strategic thinking process. Strategic Thinking is the combination of Innovation, Strategy Planning, and Operational Planning. Strategic Thinking can be done for the organization as a whole and for each department or division within the organization. (John, 2000) Strategic thinking needs to be at the centre of the entire strategic management process, constantly re-evaluating, re-visiting and re-defining metal models of the business. Strategic metal models of a business whether formally defined or not, frame a business and limit creative thought based on assumptions about: How the business is organized and manages the deployment of its resources to compete, generate revenue and deliver value in the market; how competitors behave, react and are likely to evolve in the market; how suppliers and complementary business partners can and should support the business; how customers respond, what they value and needs and wants are met. (Hamel, 2001) A process to systematically drive strategic thinking is required within any organization. A simple three step process that may be used at an individual or group level for improved strategic thinking is to: Define the strategic business mental models and its underlying assumptions relating to the four points above; Seek information to challenge these assumptions while identifying alternative business value drivers and emerging trends; Identify new opportunities as a result of these new business value drivers and trend; Make choices and think through high level actions that would be required to leverage these new opportunities and manage likely challenges. Strategic thinking needs to both appreciate the current business situation and simultaneously challenge the status quo keeping a focus on the future. The ability of leaders and managers to think strategically is a key competence that promotes integrative efforts through a focus on the big picture when making decision, working across function and locations. The goal is to out-think, out-plan and out-maneuver other forces or competitors. The notion of combat implies a central premise of competition in the pursuit of "fulfillment". (Gluck, 2000) Main aim of this essay is to examine and analyze the role and impact of strategic thinking for the competitive options of a business. Here in this report we have considered automobile industry. The discussion part deals with Tata Motors and the challenges it has faced due to its strategic innovation of Tata Nano. Several auto-mobile industries like Hyundai, Bajaj, Maruti

and Toyota have all announced that they are working on vehicles that will be priced to compete with Nano. The discussion is followed by conclusion.

Main Body
The world keeps changing. It always has and always will. This is the fundamental importance of strategic management and use of strategic planning is to make decisions now to guide an organizations future directions. In terms of future directions, the basic problem of any company (or, for that matter, of any living thing) is survival. And to survive over the long term, a company must have two strategic capabilities: the ability to prosper and the ability to change. (Gluck, 2000) Many companies struggle with understanding their customers and overall market. This is very dangerous because it inhibits the firm to be able to develop and execute an effective strategy. Another popular problem many companies experience is the tendency of trying to be everything to everyone. This usually holds a company back from creating an excellent product. Instead, the firm will have a large variety of mediocre goods. If the company has planned for this approach it can still be quite effective; however, in order to efficiently maximize profits with this approach, the company has to be a low cost leader. The whole point of this discussion is to show the impact of strategic thinking in business. Companies should learn how to position their products and prices in the market in order to create a competitive advantage. With this competitive advantage, companies will capture a large market share and generate large profits. This will impress all stake-holders of the firm and raise the overall company value. (Ohmae, 2002) When positioning a product in the market there are few general segments. These include the high performance, traditional, size, and low cost. As time goes on, consumers are going to demand all goods to have better performance and smaller size. In many industries including: vehicles, computers, cell phones, motorcycles, and many other products, these are two most important characteristics. All of the segments are positioned on the same grid but in different areas. When thinking about the different section think about a perceptual map that has two different criteria. The costs of the goods are going to be in direct correlation to the size and performance of the