What do you understand when you hear the term, ‘strategic thinking skills,? This sounds complicated or even intimidating at times as you get the whole definition in the word itself, i,e the word,” strategic”, What does it take for someone to be strategic is the question which needs to be addressed. A strategy is made when one wants to reach the desired goal or an objective. There are ways to make the strategy to achieve those goals. One cannot just make decisions based on gut feeling or haphazardly in such a case. To meet the desired goals and vision, one takes the time to think strategically. At such times, strategic thinking skills come in handy. These kinds of skills are not developed in one day. It takes years of learning and searching for attributes that lead towards having strategic thinking.
Strategic Thinking Skills
Having such thinking can enhance your life purpose and make you have a better personal as well as professional life. It is common to feel like strategic thinking is something that only a CEO level does or it’s something that only an intellectual can do but that is far from the truth. Everyone can do this type of thinking. It just needs the right amount of practice and a whole lot of patience. So, What is this strategic thinking? Formulating plans to create a better outcome makes room for strategic thinking. When one is deliberate in their action-oriented plans and hopes to meet the goals by following a set of things that leads towards strategic thinking then it is obvious that the person will achieve its desired results and see better outcomes to their goals or visions. Strategic thinking is nothing but practicing some ways of thinking. It is a change in mindset. There are some ways of thinking that one has to change if one wants to adopt strategic thinking skills.
Here are some of the ways to adapt to your thought process to make yourself a strategic thinker.
1 Having an open mind:- A strategic thinking style uses this approach. It does not rely on the old solutions at all times. It studies the trends and formulates any business plan according to them.
2.It has a mindset of asking tough questions. This approach does not shy away from asking questions that are important, relevant, and tough. It can get uncomfortable at times but it pushes through the process which creates room for fresh solutions to come up.
3.It has a mindset of promoting understanding. This skill is developed on the grounds of comprehensive thinking. It causes one to view from different angles and makes one research and evaluate different kinds of solutions and their effect on the problem. It allows in-depth studies of a problem which allows for a better solution.There is no room for assumption in such a mindset.
4.They have a mindset of assertion. This is true for every strategic thinker. After a thorough investigation of the problem, they take the head-on decision to carry on with the best solution. They have a good amount of self-esteem and can take on constructive criticism with ease. The mindset that they have developed has made them into action- Oriented people.
5.They maintain a bias-free mentality. While it is true that everyone has a certain level of bias, a person who has strategic thinking skills works constantly on keeping the bais level at an all-time low. They do that because most of the time, maintaining bias can affect an outcome and may not result in getting the actual outcome.
There are attitudes one can develop to have strategic thinking skills. These skills come under soft skills and it is aided by different kinds of behavior that will make you have great strategic thinking skills. Here are the behaviors you need to develop to make yourself into a strategic thinker:-
1.Patience:- This is one of the most important keys that leads to the development of this kind of thinking. Such thinkers know that to achieve something substantial, will require a great deal of patience. Any good thing needs time. It is not in their DNA to rush anything. This breed of people has practiced the art of waiting and has learned well that anything can be achieved by strategically waiting for the right moment.
2.They are flexible:- Those who have a strategic mindset indeed know how to depend on others’ viewpoints too. They do not know it all, but they weigh in everyone’s opinion and are flexible enough to change their course if it is not leading to the right solution.
3.They are visionary. You will know a person when their vision is well-defined and they can see the future ahead way better than others. They can make a clear vision path using their analytical, creative, and logical skills. They can see the potential and work towards fulfilling it.
4.They are not judgemental in their approach. They can hear and listen from different perspectives. They are observant of the environment around them. When a person is perceptive, they have more understanding towards people’s hopes and desires and this helps them to achieve greater heights in whatever they do.
5.They are calm:- These people have a way to react well under pressure. They are not reactive. They are harmless by nature and manage to put their point of view across without forceful tactics. This set of people manages to have a good set of followers. Such characteristics make them make good-decision. They do not let doubts come in the way of their decision as they have done a comprehensive evaluation of the matter. They view compliments and critics in the same way. They don’t let it get in the way of their decisions. They take everything constructively. They have great self-control and self-esteem.
6.They are emotionally balanced:- This is one of the best qualities of a strategic thinker. They are self-aware people. They can separate themselves from their emotions and take the best approach for themselves and others. They are optimistic people but they also have the skill to be realistic optimists. They have a compassionate and kind nature which allows them to be emotionally balanced.This allows them to take strategic decisions in their favor.
7.They are life-long learners. Whether they learn by reading a book or by their own or others’ experience, this set of thinkers is always on the road to learning new things. They never shy away from learning but seek out opportunities to learn about self-improvement or about a new topic, market trends, or anything that will add value to them is what they are mostly attracted to.
8.They love to approach others for advice. They are unafraid of asking for help or advice. They are humble enough to seek help from others. Strategic thinkers welcome good advice and are unafraid of criticism. They know that being open to constructive criticism will lead them to have a greater goal of understanding the problem. Due to this way of approach, they are good at making robust plans and strategies.
9.They are risk-takers:- Taking risk is what makes them apart from the rest. They are unafraid to go for innovations, ideas, or plans. They seek out unique stuff and bring them to the forefront. They are not afraid of failure and know well that failure will always lead to success.But it is also true that they take the calculative risk and never take a blind shot. They are intelligent to know that without a good amount of risk, one cannot have a good impact.
There are ways to improve your strategic thinking skills. By following these points below you can demonstrate your knowledge to put your plans into action. Here are some of the ways to do it.
1.You need to prioritize tasks. Some tasks have greater benefits than the rest. Acting first on those tasks will give the maximum benefit. Brainstorming those that can benefit your organization the most is one thing that can help you improve your strategic thinking skills.
2.Improve your listening skills:- listen with your mind, soul, and body. Be present in the conversation. To know new ways of thinking, listen to the opinions of different groups of people. When you have an open-mindedness and a receptive heart, you can listen intently and evaluate everything you hear correctly.
3.Improve your questioning skills:- This means to have a benefit of the doubt in whatever you hear or see. When you have the skills to ask questions, you make a lot of space to understand the core issues.Thinking critically is good as it helps you to develop a framework that gives you ample opportunity to be a great leader. These will also lead you to have long-term success.
4.Have a Proactive approach at all times:- when you are prepared ahead of time, it gives you an edge over everything. Staying prepared before anyone asks you to and Setting things up in advance is the way to being a proactive person.Welcome opposing ideas or arguments.
5.A know it all person cannot be called a strategic thinker. An appreciation of counter ideas and opinions should be there to develop such thinking skills. This allows us to create an understanding of the whole scenario. Exposing yourself to different arguments will help you take a holistic approach to the things at hand.
6.Always look for ways to improve whatever task you do. Any project or task at hand needs to be strategies. They work towards excellence. For instance, for any project or news item you get, make it your priority to do it in excellence and go the extra mile at all times if you want to see improvement in strategic thinking skills.
7.Staying up to date with the world by reading the news and checking the latest trends is very important. These can be done by joining networks, reading a lot, and engaging with different sets of people from all departments. The will to adapt to changes in the economy, technology, and consumer behavior needs to be there.
Here are some of the pointers that a strategic thinker does:-
- They are unafraid of the future and have rational optimism towards it.
- They will make the sacrifices today to reap the rewards later.
- They do not stick with the same old way of doing things.
- Take the ideas that have a more beneficial outcome for the organization.
- Takes a situational approach to dealing with problems.
- Constantly on the road to learning.
- Have an outside-the-box mentality.
- They are responsive to a problem.
Just as there are strategic thinkers, there are also non-strategic thinkers. Here are some of the ways to know if you fall in this category:-
- They are reactive and always need guidance and assurance.
- They are limited in their approach to work and will only work on the task given.
- They love the status quo and don’t care about the long-term goals.
- They are rigid and would not adapt to new ways of working or thinking.
- They are satisfied to be in the same learning pool and are not motivated to learn more or network with different groups of people.
- They are not risk-takers therefore they are predictable by nature.
- They are happy to go lucky type of people and are complacent.
Why has this soft skill become one of the highly prized skills in today’s world?
Because gone are the days where everything was predictable and easy. Today, the world has become more robust, fast, and highly competitive. One has to constantly keep up with it. Employers seek such types of people to recruit as this skill is highly effective in such an environment. When you have the determination to be excellent in your work by following all the above-mentioned points, you become a valuable asset to your organization. An organization is looking to hire such strategic thinkers as they want to expand their horizons and achieve more than before. Such strategic thinkers can take the company to new and greater heights. Employers know the importance of recruiting such employees so they do anything at their disposal to seek out this kind of candidate. Having a strategic mindset is what will set you apart from the crowd and will increase your net worth. And Networth is what everyone looks for.
Strategic thinking skills are valuable for the advancement of not only your career but of your personal life too. It’s a skill that helps you to rationalize and plan many challenges that one faces. Every position whether big or small needs to practice strategic thinking skills. It is needed for all. In this day and age, it is vital to have this skill up our sleeves so that we can excel in whatever they do. This skill has become more sought after due to the ever-increasing competitive nature of the market.
Developing this skill will increase profits, customer satisfaction and will even work in employee retention. The benefits are endless. Besides setting the company on the road to success, mastering this art will make you more efficient and strong as a leader. It will make you a logical thinker and lead you to achieve the outcome that you desire. To develop this skill and make yourself so valuable that everyone will be seeking you out to do business with you. Such is the power of developing these particular soft skills. So master it to the max if you want to have a great career and a personal life.