What is Strategic thinking?
How to Develop this Essential Skill
Strategic thinking is a valuable skill to master in both your professional and personal life. Mastering this talent will bring tremendous value to any project you undertake. Many studies have proven that individuals skilled in strategic thinking are also highly effective in leadership positions because of their excellent problem-solving and decision-making approaches to a variety of situations. Leaders who can think strategically, are able to look at an issue systematically, which allows them to identify the impact of their decisions across all departments within and outside the company.
With the benefits strategic thinkers can bring to a business, you may be wondering how you can hone your strategic thinking skills – or even develop strategic thinkers within your own organization. This is not a task to be taken lightly, this is about the mindset of the individual as well as learned techniques that can be applied to problems.
To better develop this skill, it is important to take time to reflect on the lasting effects of your decisions prior to making them. Ask yourself questions to determine what the final outcome may be – who is, and who will be involved in this decision, what risks are presented, how difficult will it be to arrive at your desired outcome – is it worth it in the long run?
Don’t let tunnel vision prevent you from seeing all angles of a situation. Having too narrow of a focus will restrict the opportunities you have to think strategically about a situation. Strategic thinkers are able to connect the dots between people, ideas, and plans to see a bigger picture that others fail to see. Practice viewing the world as a giant web of interconnected ideas, and you will soon discover that you can easily spot the connection between multiple objects.
While thinking of problems and creating solutions is valuable, it is equally valuable to be able to quickly and confidently arrive at a decision. In order to put your plans in place and your ideas in action you must have the capability of making choices, even if those choices are ones you do not personally agree with. Closing one door and opening another is a situation that leaves many of us paralyzed with fear, but is critical to being strategic.
You will need to make choices about what you will and what you won’t do. It is at this critical juncture that your ability to see and think strategically about a situation is really tested. Don’t let the fear of failure or the risks hold you back if you want to truly look at a situation strategically. All this requires is a deliberate approach in your actions.
In the end, this will require practice – perhaps years of patience. This may not be the easiest of skills to acquire, but the end result will turn from a simply average leader to an exceptional leader, mentor and boss.
Thom Torode is a NJ based Business & Franchise Coach.
He has owned over 5 different businesses and is currently the Managing Director for Sunrise Business Advisors. Thom’s expertise includes working with those business owners who have getting them unstuck and back in growth mode. Additionally Thom works with both franchisees and franchisors in helping them develop their leadership. Thom is also Director Consultant with BNI. When not helping business owners and their teams create the business and lives they want and need, he can be found following his kids activities.