4 Ways to Develop Strategic Thinking

One thing the past year has shown us is that for individuals and businesses to overcome turbulence, we must be prepared to think how we need to be prepared and go in the future. Most iconic Leaders have the ability to think in strategical process in approaching goals and overcoming obstacles. One of the important traits is the capacity to anticipate and the ability to position yourself to compete and win in the future.

This skill is Strategic Thinking. It is the ability to foresee new solutions and think out of the box to the problem or any given situation. Strategic thinking includes finding and developing a strategic foresight capacity, by exploring all possible organizational futures to foster decision making today.

Strategic thinking, is about synthesis. It involves intuition and creativity. The outcome of strategic thinking is an integrated perspective of the enterprise, a not-too-precisely articulated vision of direction, such as the vision of Jim Clark, the founder of Silicon Graphics, that three-dimensional visual computing is the way to make computers easier to use.

Henry Mintzberg, Canadian academic and Author of many management books wrote in 1994 that strategic thinking is more about synthesis than analysis. It is about “capturing what the manager learns from all sources (both the soft insights from his or her personal experiences and the experiences of others throughout the organization and the hard data from market research and the like) and then synthesizing that learning into a vision of the direction that the business should pursue.”

What are Strategic Thinking Skills?    

Strategic thinking skills are skills that allow you to use critical thinking to solve complex problems and plan for the future. These skills are necessary to achieve various business goals, address challenges, and overcome issues.

Strategic thinking skills comprise of following skillsets:

How to Develop Strategic Thinking Skills?

The ability to think strategically is becoming a key requirement for those who want to be leaders. It takes a holistic approach to solve the problem as well as make decisions on a daily basis. Here are a few factors that can help you improve strategic thinking skills:

Ask Critical Questions

To develop strategic thinking skills you just ask more critical questions. Doing so will allow you to practice planning skills, become an expert in perceiving opportunities as well as develop a more strategic attitude

  • Why do I need to do this job/report right now?
  • What are the outcomes/goals the project/organisation wants to achieve?
  • What is the impact on the market share if we reduce the price?
  • How will the workforce in the company respond if I automise one unit?
  • How can I increase the profit of the organisation without increasing the costs or the price of the product?

Observe Before you Respond

If you need to enhance your strategic thinking skills, another factor that matters is to understand the problem and then respond to it accordingly. To accomplish the same it is essential to observe the situation first. Make sure that any strategy you consider is on factual grounds. Do not react immediately

Instead of blindly following an assumption, collect as much data as feasible to apply while crafting your method. For instance, this could include accomplishing personal meetings with new clients to perceive the unique jobs they elect your product to perform.

Think Through Contradictory Ideas

When you have found a strategy that will help your company achieve its goals, challenge your assumptions and test your hypothesis thoroughly. That way, you can make sure that you don’t overlook another possibility. 

It can enable you to proactively identify weaknesses in your reasoning and enable you to defend your strategy when others ask questions. It can also help you sharpen the logical skills you need to communicate and execute your strategy. To develop strategic thinking skills, make a habit of questioning yourself every time you want to make a statement.

A Bigger Picture

One of the methods to develop strategical thinking is seeing the bigger picture. What am I or my organisation going to achieve? Visualise the impact you will create- is it a step towards achieving your vision or will it take you away from it? Visualise the obstacles and hindrances to achieve your final vision. Look at how things work and if will effect productivity and profitability.

This creates innovation and brings forth creativity. Amazon used it brilliantly. Even Toyota spearheaded Kaizen principle a standard which is followed not just in automobile industry but in others as well.

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