Thinking bigger, brighter, or better is never as important as thinking strategically.
Companies run better when everyone is strategically thinking about how to reach the end goal.
As your company’s CEO, you may have come across this situation multiple times. You are told by a mentor or role model to be strategic in your thought process so you can be a better leader. It sounds frustrating, and even irritating when it comes from people who lack concrete substance.
You just here them saying, “Think Bigger! Have a Broader Vision!” but fail to give a real solid plan as to how to go about doing that.
Tips to Develop Strategic Thinking Skills for Better Leadership
One basic idea to note is that strategic thinking is not limited to senior executives only. Every individual at every stage of an organization can become a strategic thinker. Doing do brings about a paradigm shift in the way one works and reaches end goals. This is one component which does not come as part of any one person’s job description or key area of responsibility. Once you have decided to take the initiative, there are few ways in which you can implement strategic thinking into your daily business:
Have complete insight
One important element for strategic thinking is to have great insight into your industry. Take a deep dive into the trends and key drivers of success in the field. Whatever you visualize, support it with statistical data to urge others to take meaningful action. This should not be a one-time exercise, but more of a daily activity.
You can obtain valuable information about your organization from peers, and details about how the industry is moving from industry experts and evangelists. Make a point to communicate with such people. Once complete, share your findings internally with your team. More than just collecting information, it is vital to understand, comprehend, and take necessary action. This is called thinking strategically.
Never hesitate to ask questions
One thing that has been observed is that people often hesitate to ask questions. This is common among employees who are not in senior positions. It is not about questioning others, but about questioning one’s self.
Most of the time, you will encounter a scenario where a person says, “I am fine with what I have. Why should I be bothered? I get paid for what I do.” On the contrary, if individuals begin asking the right questions, such as “What else can be done to improve,” it changes the perspective of the whole team. Asking questions helps one to explore different possibilities and new approaches, and results in completely new outcomes.
Insert strategy in your conversation
Those who think strategically, should also converse strategically. This means arranging your thoughts in a definitive manner and structuring it clearly to indicate the primary message which readers or listeners can understand clearly. Strategic thinkers will disrupt the status quo and help the audience walk through the entire process of whatever they are suggesting, articulating ideas in a concrete manner.
At the start, it may sound like a cumbersome process, but there is a way to develop these skills:
- Begin articulating written and verbal conversation in a well-organized and understandable manner.
- It is always better to give a heads-up to your audience with an overview of what you are planning to discuss so they have a chance to be better prepared.
- Ask questions and listen first before jumping into the main idea or topic.
The journey to becoming a strategic thinker is not an easy one. It takes time and energy to get your ideas developed first and then an equal amount of time and energy to create a structured message. More importantly, one should be prepared to engage in healthy conversation when on the path to becoming a strategic thinker.