Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is the probable reason why so few engage in it. - Henry Ford
Have you ever had a performance review or been passed over for a role and been told you are not strategic enough? Have you ever solved an issue superficially and it’s turned into a problem-child that needed constant attention? I most certainly have several times, until I understood what strategic thinking really meant.
Strategic thinking is not about thinking deeper. In my opinion it’s thinking broader. It’s about a decision making or a problem-solving process with a complete end-to-end thinking model that also understands the interdependencies within the framework. Whilst a critical thinker will use data at hand to fix an issue, a strategic thinker will look at how that problem is part of a bigger issue, planning accordingly and looking at futuristic outcomes.
The base questions for strategic thinker are:
· What is the issue and why has it occurred?
· Where are we now?
· Where do we want to be?
· How will we get there?
Let me give you an example of strategic thinking. Tom’s company needed a website overhaul as the existing one was not bringing in clients. Tom approached a design agency and gave them the brief that he wanted a website that was modern and crisp that would attract clients.
Tom was only expecting a design change with a modern look that appealed to his market. But what the designer gave him was more than just a superficial aesthetic fix. The designer explored with Tom the purpose of the website, what it was trying to achieve, who it was for (the ideal client) and what the goals were for the website. He then looked into the content and all the resources required. He also benchmarked each of the processes to ensure that the success criteria were met for all categories of the website.
He then moved on to the implementation where the aesthetic design was thought and he brought in the people required to do the actual work and aligned them with the vision for the website.
By thinking strategically, the designer not only gave Tom a modern and crisp website, but expanded Tom’s thinking and provided him with a website that would assist him in ways he never thought possible to attract clients. He gave him a long-term solution instead of a short-term fix.
Strategic thinkers see things differently from other people. They pick out the aspects of information that others miss. Their thinking process has the ability to see information as chunks and the ability to connect them together. They challenge conventional thinking — and thereby stand out amongst peers.
Strategic thinking can be learnt and can be applied to any situation of business and life. People who demonstrate their competence and talent to both lead and think strategically have a unique advantage when it comes to owning their careers and lives.
They have also given themselves the power to -- Live Life on Their Terms | Unleash Their Potential | Live Their Dream