How to Boost Strategic Thinking and Make it a Good Habit?
Business owners and managers constantly need to make on-the-spot decisions. It’s critical for these decisions to be made in a rational and level-headed state of mind.
Advanced strategic thinking is imperative to the company’s growth, profitability, and general business success. And honing this skill is a well-spent time.
Individuals with strategic thinking are valuable assets. They always attract the attention of forward-thinking employers. However, developing such skills is important not only for personal success but for society as a whole. The famous innovators and world’s greatest minds were great strategists and critical thinkers who weren’t afraid to try new ideas and get some challenges. So what are the benefits of strategic thinking and what are the skills that help to evolve it?
Strategic Thinkers Make Better Decisions
A strategic thinker always tries to dig deeper into the roots of any issue to analyze processes and apply performance metrics. He/she collects all necessary data and produces analytics to make more informed decisions.
The high level of critical thinking skills also characterizes strategic thinkers. They always ask more thoughtful questions and behave more contemplative when it comes to decision-making. They are more reflective and observant than the average people.
Strategic Thinkers are Advanced Leaders
Strategic thinking helps to evolve leadership. People who have leadership prerequisites are likely better leaders than individuals who fail to think strategically. Strategic leadership means moving beyond the role of communicating a vision to fully understanding, thinking, planning, and executing the necessary strategy to realize it.
Strategic leaders explore, decipher, and interpret the best concepts for achieving organizational excellence, anticipating, and responding to changes.
The leader is strategic when he/she considers both the soft and hard sides of the system and weighs the consequences of decisions. This helps him/her to define if they affect the team’s ability to accomplish strategic outcomes or not.
Strategic Thinkers Contribute to Creating More Strategic Thinkers
Strategic thinkers ask questions that reveal their commitment to strategy that demonstrates their value to the team and the whole company.
Strategic thinkers ponder and prompt questions that are designed to create even more strategic thinkers. Here’re some examples of such questions:
- What is our strategic vision, and what are the goals and objectives to realize it?
- What is our human capital strategy?
- What is our company’s next turn in the road?
- Who are our internal and external stakeholders?
- What methods do we apply to listen to our stakeholders?
- What aspects most drives our decision making and why?
- Which is our key strategic analysis model to assess the internal and external environments?
- What is our value proposition?
- Why should our strategic partners cooperate with us?
- What is our ROI for human capital?
- What can we do tomorrow to build and execute the organizational and operational strategy? etc.
What Are the Skills Required to Evolve Strategic Thinking?
Strategic thinking assists in defining a big picture, identifying the possible impact of their decisions, and project the way to get there. Here are the skills that characterized an advanced strategic thinker:
Strategic thinkers can create and stick to a clear visioning process. They use the logical and creative (left and right) sides of their brains to define a rigorous vision of what needs to be done.
A clear and positive vision attracts and inspires people for action. It enables commitment and moves the required energy to make it happen. A strategic thinker with a strong vision sees the potential for how the world should exist and take steps to get there.
Ability to framework
Strategic thinkers should embed the vision within a framework. They are able to define their objectives and develop an action plan. This plan includes the key goals broken down into tasks measured in terms of timeline and resources. They are conscious of their own biases and consider their own circumstances and perspectives within this framework.
The framework should envision plans A, B, and C that will drive them all to the same expected result.
Strategic thinking assumes seeking the advice of others. That is why strategic thinkers should be flexible enough and twist their ideas to achieve the desired vision.
They are flexible thinkers and this trait of character allows them to think about something in more than one way and develop different strategies.
Ability to percept
It’s rather important for strategic thinkers to look around and understand the world from all the different perspectives. They should always attentively listen, hear, and read between the lines.
A good strategist always observes before forming a judgment and making use of different angles. He/she can recognize internal and external clues that may clear the direction to be taken.
Strategic thinkers know how to put all the pieces of the puzzle together and they know that global achievements are just the collection of all the different angles.
Sense of purpose
Of course, strategic thinkers can also doubt but they do not let the doubts fog the vision. They use clear orders while simultaneously respecting the thoughts of others to communicate effectively what they want and need.
Thanks to the high level of confidence and self-esteem, strategists can receive both compliments and constructive critics. They can defend their points of view without harming other people.
The ability to balance emotions in a way that always favors the achievement of the ultimate goals is also critical for strategic thinkers. They are aware of their emotions and do not react to them as an important element of accepting them. But when they control them, they make decisions.
Any success is the result of strategically planned work and thorough efforts. Strategic thinking requires the ability to be patient. Strategists do not bet it all at once, they invest their energies in the most appropriate way and led by a long-term vision. They are able to wait.
If you apply strategic thinking to such areas as career advancement, relationship development, networking, salary negotiations, performance agreements, or brand development, you will definitely experience immense professional benefit. Do you have own experience or interesting cases about stimulating strategic thinking? Please, feel free to share them!
That’s right, strategic thinking is such a global and immense topic that it is rather difficult to cover it in one modest blog post. Therefore, as a bonus, we suggest you dive in more detail of strategic thinking and watch some cool relevant speeches on YouTube.
How to Improve Strategic Thinking by Simon Sinek
Keynote Speech on Strategic Thinking by Rich Horwath
7 Pillars Of Strategic Thinking by Actualized.org
Strategy as Choice by Nick Hansen
How to Be Strategic Thinkers by Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz