Strategic thinking is a key skill for leaders and executives. Almost every job ad out there lists it as a requirement. Here are 5 key habits of strategic thinkers to help you get your head around the question: what is strategic thinking?
1. Practise Purposeful Networking
Strategic thinking involves curiosity and learning from others. I suggest you cultivate purposeful networking habits. Instead of expanding your network for the sake of transactions only, ask yourself: “Whom can I connect with, who might have an important perspective for me to consider?” Build relationships with individuals who bring unique insights and experiences to the table. Engage in meaningful conversations that challenge your viewpoints and broaden your understanding of various issues.
2. Think Differently
Challenge the status quo by adopting a mindset that encourages thinking differently. When faced with a problem or decision, ask yourself: “Where can I reason differently to overcome biases and assumptions and change the status quo?” Embrace a diversity of thought and be open to unconventional ideas. This habit enhances your creativity and allows you to approach challenges from a fresh perspective.
3. Understand the Business Landscape
Strategic thinking requires a deep understanding of the business environment. Monitor the evolving landscape and stay informed about trends and their implications. Ask yourself: “What are the emerging trends, and how might they impact my industry or organization?” Being attuned to market dynamics and anticipating shifts in the business landscape helps you to make informed decisions and position yourself and your organization for success.
4. Anticipate Impacts
Effective strategic thinkers are proactive in anticipating both positive and negative impacts on people, processes, and profits. Develop the habit of asking: “How can I mitigate negative impacts and accelerate positive impacts?” By considering the potential consequences of your decisions, you can implement measures to minimize risks and capitalize on opportunities.
5. Connect the Dots
Strategic thinkers connect the dots between various – sometimes seemingly unrelated- elements. Ask yourself: “Whom should I bring into the loop and align with that is overlooked?” Actively seek out individuals or teams whose expertise complements your own. Collaborate with diverse stakeholders to gain a holistic understanding of complex issues. By connecting the dots, you can innovate, build customer-centric solutions, and navigate challenges more effectively.
Image by Alex Brueckmann, Title Image by Drew Beamer