Learn How to Become a Good Strategic Thinker and What is the required Skillset.
Words like strategy, strategic thinking, strategic thinker and strategic leadership have all become buzzwords that managers use in executive and team meetings and candidates put on their résumés without truly understanding the nuts and bolts of it all.
Many qualified candidates and experienced managers don’t actually know what strategic thinking is or what it looks like.
(According to Wikipedia )Strategic thinking is defined as a mental or thinking process applied by an individual for achieving a goal or set of goals in any endeavor. As a cognitive activity, it produces thought. Normally Strategic Thinking is confused with Strategic planning but to be clear Strategic Planning is an organization’s process of defining its strategy or direction and making decisions on allocating its resources to pursue this strategy.
In other words, Strategic thinking is a process that defines the manner in which people think about, assess, view, and create the future for themselves and others. Strategic thinking is an extremely effective and valuable tool. One can apply strategic thinking to arrive at decisions that can be related to your work or personal life.
Strategic thinking involves developing an entire set of Critical Skills. which are crucial to becoming a Strategic Thinker. Here is the list of Critical Skills that the best strategic thinkers possess and use every day.
Strategic thinkers have the ability to use the left (logical) and right (creative) sides of their brains. This skill takes practice as well as confidence and can be tremendously valuable.
Strategic thinkers have the ability to develop a clearly defined and focused business vision OR personal vision. Strategic thinkers are skilled at both thinking with a strategic purpose as well as creating a visioning process. They have both skills and they use them to complement each other.
Strategic thinkers have the ability to clearly define their objectives and develop a strategic action plan with each objective broken down into tasks and each task having a list of needed resources and a specific timeline.
Strategic thinkers have the ability to design flexibility into their plans by creating some benchmarks in their thinking to review progress. Then they use those benchmarks as a guide and to recognize the opportunity to revise their plans as needed. Strategic thinkers have an innate ability to be proactive and anticipate change, rather than being reactive to changes after they occur.
Strategic thinkers are amazingly aware and perceptive. Strategic thinkers will recognize internal and external clues, often subtle, to help guide future direction and realize opportunities for them and their companies or organizations.
Great strategic thinkers will listen, hear and understand what is said and will read and observe whatever they can so that they will have very helpful and strategic information to guide them.
Strategic thinkers are committed to lifelong learners and learn from each of their experiences. They use their experiences to enable them to think better on strategic issues.
The best and greatest strategic thinkers take time out for themselves. Their time out maybe in the form of a retreat, a walk in a special environment; relaxing in a comfortable chair, or an afternoon in a quiet place, or their laptop computer with “their thinking caps” on.
Strategic thinkers are committed to and seek advice from others. They may use a coach, a mentor, a peer advisory group or some other group that they can confide in and offer up ideas for feedback.
Strategic thinkers have the ability to balance their tremendous amount of creativity with a sense of realism and honesty about what is achievable in the longer term. This ability to balance does not deter them in their thinking. Sometimes they refer to themselves as realistic optimists.
Strategic thinkers have the ability to be non-judgmental. They do not allow themselves to be held back or restricted by judging their own thinking or the thinking of others when ideas are initially being developed and shared. This is especially true during any “brainstorming” exercises to ensure a flow of great ideas. There will be time to test the ideas after the “brainstorming” is concluded.
Strategic thinkers have the ability to be patient and not rush to conclusions and judgments. Great ideas and thoughts require time to develop into great success in the future to reach your defined vision.
Hence, the benefits of strategic thinking are twofold. The advantage is not just for achieving organizational goals.
If you apply these strategic thinking principles to areas of career advancement, relationship development, networking, and brand development. You will surely experience immense professional & personal benefit, and you can also become a Strategic Thinker.
By- Shoaib Ahmed
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