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Learn How to Become a Good Strategic Thinker and What is the required Skillset.

Words such as strategy, strategic thinker, strategic thinking, and strategic leadership are all corporate jargon and have become buzzwords that managers normally use in executive and team meetings and aspiring candidates put on their résumés & CVs without truly understanding the nuts and bolts of it all.

But the truth is many qualified candidates and experienced corporate managers don’t actually know what the real strategic thinking is or what it looks like.

According to Wikipedia – Strategic thinking is 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 sort of process that defines a unique manner in which people normally think about, assess, view, and create the future for themselves and others. Strategic thinking is and can be an extremely effective and valuable tool if applied well. For example, one can apply strategic thinking to make effective and well thought out decisions that can be related to his/her work or personal life.

However, strategic thinking all about developing an entire set of Critical Skills, which are crucial to becoming a good Strategic Thinker. Here is the list of Critical Skills that the best strategic thinkers possess and use every day.

#1- Skill

Strategic thinkers have the ability to use the left (logical) and right (creative) sides of their brains. This skill of using the left and right side of the brain takes a tremendous amount of practice as well as confidence and can be tremendously valuable.

#2- Skill

Strategic thinkers are visionary, they are able 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 the skills and they always use them to complement each other.

#3- Skill

Strategic thinkers are equipped with the ability to clearly understand and define their objectives and develop a strategic action plan with each objective broken down into tasks and each task has a list of needed resources and a specific timeline.

#4- Skill

Strategic thinkers are good at designing 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.

#5- Skill

Strategic thinkers are amazingly aware and perceptive. Strategic thinkers are good at recognizing internal and external clues quickly, often subtle, to help guide future direction and realize opportunities for them and their companies or organizations.

Great strategic thinkers will first listen, hear and understand what is said and will read and observe carefully whatever they can so that they will have very helpful and strategic information to guide them.

#6- Skill

Strategic thinkers are committed to lifelong learning and learn from each of their experiences. They use their personal experiences which enables them to think better on strategic issues.

#7- Skill

The best thing about the greatest strategic thinkers is that they 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.

#8- Skill

Strategic thinkers are committed to and seek advice from others. They may use a coach, ask a mentor, look for a peer advisory group or some other group that they can confide in and offer up ideas for feedback.

#9- Skill

Strategic thinkers have a sense of realism and honesty which enables them to balance their tremendous amount of creativity. They know what is achievable in the longer term. This ability and quality to balance does not deter them in their visionary thinking. Sometimes they refer to themselves as realistic optimists.

#10- Skill

Strategic thinkers have the ability to be non-judgmental. They usually do not allow themselves to be restricted by judging their own thinking or the thinking of others when ideas are initially being developed and shared. This is especially true and witnessed during any “brainstorming” exercises or sessions to ensure a flow of great ideas. Then comes the time to test those discussed ideas after the “brainstorming” is concluded.

#11- Skill

Strategic thinkers have the ability to be patient and not rush to conclusions and judgments. They know that great ideas and thoughts require some time to develop into great success in the future to reach desired 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. It is certain that we will experience and get immense professional & personal benefits, and you can also become a Strategic Thinker.

By- Shoaib Ahmed

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