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4th Jul, 2023

Olivia Maguire
Olivia Maguire
Job Title
Content Marketing Lead

What is strategic thinking?

Strategic thinking is the ability to navigate situations through critical analysis, thinking long-term, considering different angles, and predicting potential challenges and opportunities. Then, armed with that knowledge, being able to develop a long-term vision and set goals that lead to successful outcomes.

Great strategic thinking skills are vital for leaders as it helps them to envision the bigger picture and understand the long-term implications of their decisions. This allows them to set clear goals, develop effective company strategies, and align the actions of their team or organisation accordingly.

Strategic thinking also empowers managers to foster innovation and drive organisational growth. By exploring new possibilities, and challenging the status quo, managers can inspire their teams to develop innovative ideas that lead to sustainable success.

How to improve your strategic thinking skills

Some people possess an innate ability to see the big picture and find that strategic thinking comes naturally. But for others, it's about shifting your mindset and honing your strategic thinking skills through practice, and the more work you put in to practising these techniques, the better you'll become.

Here are eight ways to improve your strategic thinking skills:

1. Keep your knowledge up to date

Stay abreast of industry trends, emerging technologies, and global developments. By doing this, you will be able to anticipate emerging trends and opportunities that may affect your business or sector and plan accordingly. Sign up to relevant newsletters, engage with thought leaders on social media platforms like LinkedIn, and attend industry events to stay up to date.

2. Consider long-term implications

Shift your focus beyond immediate concerns and consider the long-term implications of your decisions. When it comes to long-term thinking, first look at where you want your company or team to be, then break down the long-term vision into specific, actionable goals, setting milestones to track your progress.

3. Practice critical analysis

Analysing critically is a fundamental aspect of strategic thinking as it enables you to assess information, ideas, and situations from multiple angles, and challenges your preconceptions or assumptions. Consider your own internal and organisational biases and approach decision-making with objectivity.

Additionally, critical analysis helps you delve deeper into complex issues to identify underlying causes and patterns. By establishing the root cause of a problem, you can develop more effective strategies to address it.

4. Embrace curiosity

Embracing curiosity plays an important role in enhancing strategic thinking skills as it fuels a desire for knowledge and a thirst for learning. Ask questions, explore diverse viewpoints, and seek out new information. By being curious, you actively seek out new ideas and perspectives that can inform your strategic thinking.

5. Be creative

Creativity enables you to think beyond conventional approaches and uncover unique solutions to complex problems.

Get your team to participate in brainstorming sessions to encourage idea generation and allow everyone to voice their opinion - no idea is wrong. Step outside of your comfort zone, explore new ideas, and take calculated risks. This will create an environment that encourages individuals to try new approaches and learn from their failures.

6. Seek feedback and collaborate

Seeking feedback and collaborating with your colleagues lets you to tap into the diverse perspectives of others. By involving different stakeholders, you will gain a broader range of viewpoints.

Having diverse opinions enhances your strategic thinking by revealing your blind spots and uncovering new solutions that you may not have previously considered.

7. Plan for different scenarios and outcomes

Consider the different possible outcomes and scenarios, their pros and cons, and plan for each eventuality. This will help you become more prepared and proactive in navigating uncertainties and making strategic decisions.

Remember that scenario planning does not aim to predict the future with certainty, but rather explore possible outcomes and their implications.

8. Embrace a growth mindset

Individuals with a growth mindset view challenges as opportunities for growth and learning, rather than as failures.

A company culture where people are encouraged to learn from their mistakes and grow, without blame, means people are less fearful of failure. By giving them the space to explore new ideas, you can achieve greater innovation. Additionally, they become more proactive in seeking solutions to prevent them from reoccurring. This fosters a culture of accountability where individuals are empowered to learn from their mistakes and take responsibility.

Strategic thinking is one of the most sought-after skills for any professional to have, no matter the industry. By practicing these techniques, you can hone your strategic thinking skills and propel your career forward.

If you are looking for your next great employment opportunity, or seeking a new professional to join your team, get in touch with your local recruitment consultant today.