developing a strategic plan for reaching both short and long-term goals. Great strategic decisions are at the crux of successful leadership and organizations thrive when management and executive decision-making makers understand and communicate clearly where the organization is headed. Operating decisions play a key role is the performance and growth potential of any organization. They include choices that reflect how well you respond to what you’re seeing in the market and within your internal organizational environment. Here are a few things to keep in mind to ensure your decisions contribute positively to your success. Think Strategically and Plan in Advance Are you positioning your resources in the most effective way to build on your strengths and minimize your weaknesses? Do you have the right people in the proper roles, are you utilizing the right channels of distribution and are processes and technologies in place so that you provide the highest quality for the lowest cost, staying price competitive in a global economy? The higher the quality of your proactive thinking and planning in advance of day-to-day choices, the more successful your decisions will be. Anticipate the “What-if’s” Leaders who know that they will face challenges, and do their best to anticipate them, are more prepared to make effective operational decisions. Consider the “what if’s” of your business. What if a competitor cut his price by ten percent or there happened to be a shortage of one of your major components, like paper, oil or energy? Taking the time to think through these scenarios allows you to prepare ahead of time and create the framework for a solution. In sports and even in the military, great leaders have a gameplan. Things never happen exactly as you diagram them; however you can make more successful choices if and when these situations occur because you anticipated them. Without forethought, decisions are often made on the fly without proper research, preparation, or consideration. Leaders are forced to make hundreds of decisions every day. From small organizations to multinational conglomerates, executives are faced with operational choices that often impact organizational success. In an uncertain economy, staying competitive is tougher than ever, one bad decision can have disastrous consequences – just ask Kodak. Think strategically, plan ahead and never forget to anticipate what could be in store.