Do you want to learn how to improve your strategic thinking?
Do you think some people are born with an innate ability to think strategically or that it was developed?
People can develop and master any skill they put their minds to, and strategic thinking is not excluded.
Strategic thinking is simply the ability to plan for the future.
It has to do with thinking critically to come up with ideas on how to deal with current and future changes.
Also, it is the ability to spot rare opportunities when other people fail to see them and leverage them.
Strategic thinking is one of the skills that make the executives of most companies and business owners successful.
This is because;
- They are constantly learning and gathering new information.
- Also, they gather fresh perspectives from other people by seeking their advice on how to do certain things.
- They are risk-takers
- Lastly, they always have the organization’s purpose in mind.
In all, successful business leaders/entrepreneurs can think ahead of situations and make plans accordingly.
Whether as a business owner trying to improve your strategic thinking skills and that of your employees/team, there are certain things you should do.
These secrets are what we share in this blog post.
So, read on till the end to discover the simple things you need to do to improve strategic thinking.
How to Improve Your Strategic Thinking Skills
It should be clear by now that becoming a strategic thinker is as important as getting a new position.
This skill is one of the most sought-after cooperate skill.
This is because it doesn’t only foster growth in the organization.
It also helps the employees to progress in their careers.
Hence, you can improve strategic thinking skills through the following ways;
1You Need to Be Proactive to Improve Your Strategic Thinking
One of the ways to improve strategic thinking skills is by being proactive.
Being proactive means thinking ahead and being prepared before things happen.
Being proactive entails you taking initiatives by doing things before you are told to.
It doesn’t matter if you’re the team leader or team member; being proactive can greatly benefit you and the entire team.
It may seem a little bit forward.
However, it boosts your efficiency in the organization by helping you anticipate future problems and be ready with the solutions before they occur.
Therefore helping you develop your strategic thinking skills.
2Be Willing to Accept Ideas/Perspectives From Others
Being a strategic thinker doesn’t mean you have to think alone.
In fact, as a strategic thinker you ought to know when best to put different ideas together to achieve the best result.
Hence, strategic thinkers explore other people’s thoughts, seeing them as an alternative to theirs or as an alternative to the norm.
Also, they deliberately seek out these different opinions not just for the present issues but also for future purposes.
This widens their horizon and gives them more ideas/possibilities to explore.
So, to enhance your strategic thinking skills, you need to be willing to gain insights from other people’s thoughts and perspectives.
3To Improve Your Strategic Thinking, Prioritize Your Tasks
Being a leader in an organization comes with many responsibilities, and each of these responsibilities is important for the overall growth of your organization.
More so, you can’t handle them all at once.
Hence the need to prioritize your tasks.
Prioritizing your tasks means you’ll have to decide which task to prioritize over the other.
Hence, you have to carefully brainstorm and analyze the tasks to determine which should be treated urgently and which tasks to do later.
Thereby helping you make tough decisions and think strategically on what will bring the most benefits to the organization.
Consequently, improving your strategic thinking skills over time.
4Be Solution-Oriented (Focus on Solutions not Problems)
Being solution-oriented is a great way to develop your strategic thinking skills.
When you’re solution-oriented, you’re always prepared to solve problems.
Your focus is on how to solve the problem instead of how big or complicated the problem is.
Even more, you understand that there’ll always be uncertainty and ambiguity.
Hence, you’re always prepared with action plans to tackle challenges as they come up, especially in the organization.
Above all, being solution-oriented requires a lot of analysis and deep thinking that will inevitably improve your strategic thinking skills in the long run.
5Be Inquisitive; it Will Help You Improve Your Strategic Thinking Skills
You should be positively inquisitive and form the habit of asking strategic questions.
These questions could relate to challenges, opportunities, or ambiguities.
Also, these questions could be about what can be done to make things better, either in your personal or professional life.
If, for instance in you are in the marketing department, you could try to analyze your sales for the previous month, noting the different products that didn’t sell much.
Afterward, you could try to find out why they did not sell by asking the right questions and work towards improving them.
Even more, you could ask yourself strategic problems to identify what you’re not doing well, what are you’re chances of becoming better, and what you can do to improve.
This will help you identify the solutions, opportunities, and action plans to tackle the problems in that area.
Thereby improving your strategic thinking and problem-solving skills.
6Be Up-To-Date With Trends/Data and Explore Them
To become a better strategic thinker, you have to feed your mind with information that would lead you to ask questions and figure out the solutions to certain problems.
Being strategic in your approach to situations is impossible when you’re working with outdated information.
Everything you do will be ineffective and counter-productive.
Hence the need for you to be constantly up-to-date with the latest trends/data.
This way, you’ll be aware of the current way of doing things and how these new trends best fit into the problem that you’re trying to solve.
Overall, the key to making better decisions is by having enough information.
So, to make more strategic decisions as a business leader, you need to have all the current data to guide your decision-making process.
This way, you can easily explore and adopt these current trends to the problem you’re trying to solve.
Thereby helping you make strategic decisions and improve your strategic thinking skills.
Optimization is all about improving what you do to achieve maximum value or results.
This means that whatever you work on, you always strive to achieve better results.
Hence, you’re constantly thinking outside the box to come up with new ideas and strategies.
Doing this always can greatly improve your strategic thinking skills.
This is because you identify the best ways to achieve better results, and you leverage on them.
That alone involves strategic thinking, and doing so frequently will greatly improve this skill.
8Do Away with Bias; it will Help You Improve Your Strategic Thinking Skills
As humans, we are prone to be biased and make bias judgments based on what we feel is in our best interest.
However, as someone trying to improve strategic thinking skills, you can not afford to be biassed towards any situation.
You should take absolute control of your mind by critically evaluating your thoughts/decisions.
Never do anything out of bias and sentiments.
Accepts your flaws/mistakes when you have to and make decisions based on what’s best in that situation.
If, for instance, you have to make a tough decision that may not benefit you but will be for the greater good of the organization, then do it.
Learn to control your mind, think critically, avoid personal biases, and make decisions based on what’s best in that situation.
This way, you’re thinking strategically rather than allowing personal feelings to cloud your sense of judgment.
9Work on Your Listening Skills; it will Help You to Improve Your Strategic Thinking Skills.
Listening skill is another sought-after skill organizations expect of their employees.
This skill is a foundation for a lot of skills, strategic thinking included.
To ask a question, you have to, first, listen and ponder over what you have heard.
Also, to understand the response to your question, you have to listen.
Talking to your co-worker and listening to them as they share their views and ideas with you will not only improve your listening skills.
Instead, it will give you time to think critically about and evaluate all you have heard.
This process indirectly improves your strategic thinking skills.
10Think Thoroughly About The Consequences of Your Actions/Decisions
Being a leader involves making decisions.
On the other hand, being a strategic leader involves being careful and intentional about your decisions.
Hence, to improve your strategic thinking, you have to understand the consequences of every decision you make.
Also, you have to carefully consider the long and short-term impacts of your decisions/plan of action.
Taking time to weigh your decisions and plan of actions carefully helps you make effective decisions and avoid errors/mistakes.
Your strategic thinking skills will improve in the long run, and you’ll make more informed decisions.
11To Improve Your Strategic Thinking, Think About Your Past Problems
One thing about strategic thinking is that it involves going back and forth while seeking out a solution to a problem.
It involves doing some critical thinking about your past problems.
Thinking about your past problems will lead to ascertaining how you faced the problem and the strategies you used.
Also, it will help you consider if they worked as they should.
This process helps you identify solutions quickly by repeating the same strategy for a similar situation.
More so, it increases your critical and strategic thinking ability.
12Study Strategic Thinking
Yes, you can study strategic thinking and hone your skills.
There are several personal development books or blog posts such as this one that can help you develop this skill.
In addition to that, these study materials can broaden your horizon and give you fresh perspectives on the best approaches to solving specific problems in your professional and personal life.
It also opens you up to a world of endless possibilities.
It’s not enough to study or read materials on strategic thinking.
You also have to implement/practice what you’ve learned.
That way, you’ll be building your strategic thinking skills.
13Get a Mentor With Strategic Training Skills
Another way to develop strategic thinking skills is through mentorship programs.
You can get a good mentor with a proven track record of strategic thinking skills.
These mentors could coach you on the best approaches to solving problems and implementing strategic thinking in your approach.
Consequently, helping you develop your strategic thinking skills.
14Take Some Formal Training on Strategic Thinking
Besides putting all these simple tips to practice, you can acquire formal training on how to think strategically.
After all, strategic thinking is a skill.
You could consider taking a few weeks online course that teaches this soft skill.
As a result, helping you improve your strategic thinking skills.
15Engage In Some Mental Exercises/Activities to Improve Strategic Thinking
As we advance in age, our mental agility diminishes over time due to stress and other biological factors.
Hence, the need for mental games to optimize the function of our brains.
One of such mental games is chess.
Chess is not just a fun game.
It’s a game that requires deep thinking and careful calculation.
Hence, engaging in a game of chess can improve your strategic thinking over time.
Besides, research has it that chess has many benefits, such as improving your mental age by up to 14 years.
So, if you dislike chess, think again.
It’s a great way to develop strategic thinking skills.
Benefits of Strategic Thinking
Strategic thinking is an encompassing corporate skill that improves productivity, innovation, and efficiency.
It also helps you hone other soft skills; some of these skills are;
There will not be problem-solving without strategic thinking.
This is because a strategic thinker discovers a problem and works towards solving it and preventing it from occurring in the future.
Also, they go through some problem-solving processes to come up with a solution.
This naturally develops your problem-solving skills.
Management and Planning Skills
Becoming strategic in your thinking refers to thinking of a solution to a problem and implementing the solution.
The implementation process requires many planning and management skills to analyze data and bring them all together.
Thus helping you use strategic, management, and planning skills simultaneously.
Communication is the process of effectively passing information from one person to another.
When you come up with solid ideas, it requires communication to effectively relate to your colleagues what your idea is all about and how to go about it.
Hence, communication skill is also built when you work on improving your strategic thinking skills.
The strategic process that would lead to helping an organization reach its objective involves analyzing different things.
These things ranging from business trends, market conditions to resource allocation, and so on, will require thorough analysis.
Without analysis, you can not come up with a solution.
Therefore while you fine-tune your strategic thinking, you’re indirectly working on your analytical skills.
Other benefits come with improving your strategic thinking; they include:
Most times, people come to you for opinion to a problem’s solution bearing their preconceived solution at the back of their mind.
With that attitude, it is obvious that your opinion was sought for formality’s sake.
However, becoming a strategic thinker puts you in a position to be open-minded towards people’s opinions.
Becoming strategic in your thinking makes you curious about everything.
It makes you realize that nothing should be taken for granted.
It makes you question everything.
Therefore questioning everything makes you see opportunities where others see nothing.
It also keeps you updated on market trends in your industry.
High Level of Comprehension
Thinking strategically grants you access to view a situation from different perspectives.
It also requires you to seek out the solution in an endless list of options that you will consider properly and choose the most logical approach as the solution to the problem.
This process requires deep comprehension and understanding of the options before you.
Therefore being a strategic thinker naturally improves your comprehension skills.
Final Words on Improving Strategic Thinking Skills
One of the things you may have realized from this blog post is that strategic thinking makes leaders extraordinary in their given roles.
However, it is not limited to organizations’ leaders; anybody can become a strategic thinker if they are willing to hone the skills.
No matter your position in an organization, strategic thinking is a very useful skill that will enhance your competency and efficiency.
Hence, you should strive to develop this skill.
As a reminder, strategic thinking involves thinking critically to solve complex problems, speculating future problems, and having action plans to tackle them.
It isn’t about being pessimistic about the future or inadaptable to change.
Instead, it is about being proactive and a few steps ahead of situations.
Lastly, strategic thinking isn’t a once and for all skill.
Instead, it’s like every other skill that requires constant learning and practice to become perfect.
Hence, you need to constantly practice strategic thinking as you encounter new/complex challenges requiring innovative solutions.