I recently took an organizational behavior class where my professor conducted a strategic thinking exercise in which groups of students were to be a part of a scholarship committee. The purpose of our committee was to use strategic thinking on allocating a scholarship budget to reward several incoming freshmen to our university. I, along with some classmates represented freshmen candidates who would receive the scholarship.
These candidates all had different strengths that would live up to the standards and reputation of the university. For example, my candidate was a high school senior who would not be able to attend college without a scholarship. Her strength was found through music and should she receive a scholarship to the university, she would contribute to the school's music program. Another candidate was a gifted athlete who would be an asset to the school's basketball team. A third candidate was an intellect who would thrive in the academic realm. Moreover, my argument on why my candidate deserved the scholarship was among competing arguments from classmates who wanted the same for their candidates.
We had a few options to consider:
- Are some candidates more in need of funding than others?
- Do some candidates deserve more funding than others?
- Should we evenly distribute the scholarship fund so that everyone benefits?
- Should we give all scholarship money to the best-rounded candidate who would make the biggest impact on the school's reputation?
After hearing each representative make their case about the needs of their candidate, a few classmates pulled out of the debate because they felt their student did not need the money as much as others. One classmate stated that his student came from a financially stable household and that the lack of funds would not keep him from going to college. Another classmate mentioned that her student had the time to get a part-time job and would be okay without scholarship money. With strategic thinking among the committee members, we were able to figure out how everyone would benefit from the situation. Our committee's final consensus left two students without scholarship money, but benefited three recipients with a part of the scholarship money, based on their needs and accomplishments.
Strategic thinking involved a group effort of brainstorming ideas, initiating change, and finding solutions to our dilemma. With our strategic thinking process, we were able to effectively factor in the highest priorities of our candidates.
Stephanie Tuia specializes in internet marketing for CMOE.
If you would like to learn more about CMOE's Applied Strategic Thinking Workshop, contact one of their Regional Managers at (801) 569-3444.