Strategic thinking is as much science as art form. You need to use both the right and left side of your brain in order to truly excel, and this takes both confidence and practice.
The following are some skills great strategists’ posses and use daily:
- They envision great things and then use strategic thinking to make it real. Having both these abilities means that they can see a desirable future and evolve a strategy which focuses on the details and the big picture, in order to create it.
- They take time off from the daily hassles of a 9-5 job. All great strategists do this. Just go to a quiet place—preferably a weekend retreat, for a day or even an afternoon off, failing that—and sit with your thinking hat on. Try it.
- Strategic thinking, as the name shows, isn’t about making a quick buck, it’s about seeing the big picture and planning for coming years. The immediate results might not be impressive, but in the long run, strategic thinking pays off. A reason for the perhaps-unimpressive immediate pay-off is that strategies, like masterpieces, take time to create, fine-tune and revise.
- All true strategists are entirely aware of everything happening around them. In all business-concerns, there are bound to be clues, be they subtle or otherwise, that alert those who notice them of the possible directions in which the concern can be taken. As great strategists absorb this information, it helps them better formulate their plans whenever inspiration strikes them, be it on a vacation, during a morning walk, or just after the first cup of espresso. Their ability to spot and create links holds them in good stead.
Make sure your great idea isn’t just a pipe-dream. All great thinkers should make sure that their idea is valid, that it’ll stand up in a world full of problems and changes. You need to constantly revise and fine-tune your plans.
Use experiences you’ve undergone to help you plan better. If a short-cut has worked before and saved you a lot of time and effort, don’t hesitate to adapt it to a new plan. Don’t depend just on yourself, no matter how good you think and/or know yourself to be. Use dependable colleagues to bounce your ideas off. In case of strategic thinking, ‘two heads are better than one’ is a truer adage than ‘too many cooks spoil the broth’.