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Strategic Thinking

For many leaders, success comes as a result of thinking about how we can proactively accomplish our objectives. A strategic mindset encourages us to determine the best use of our time, resources, and capital – and then aligning them with an action plan. Research states that the number one most valuable skill in leaders today is strategic thinking. However, only about 23% of working professionals consider themselves effective in strategic thinking.

Strategic thinking is defined as the ability to continually generate insights to achieve results. It identifies factors that influence the actions taken toward specific objectives and should be part of our daily practice.

Our ability to think strategically develops over time. John Maxwell, author of How Successful People Think, lists several benefits of what he calls “focused thinking.” They include harnessing energy toward a desired goal, giving ideas time to develop, bringing clarity to the target, and getting to action.

Consider these key steps in your strategic thinking process:

  • Scan your environment to identify trends, issues, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in your organization

  • Build a vision that is aspirational and future-oriented, one that defines what your organization should look like when it is at its best

  • Reframe insights by considering multiple perspectives and looking at information through a different lens. Embrace uncertainty and uncomfortable scenarios. Consider the “What if?”

  • Keep an eye on the big picture. Determine the points of leverage that will yield the greatest results and validate your understanding of the outcomes

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