Updated: Jun 23, 2021
Strategic thinking is a skill that can’t be taught– it’s a natural inclination and talent you’re born with.
Most of my time is dedicated to consulting with clients on strategy–helping them to see useful patterns where everyone else sees complexity. In my experience, most business leaders just want to know HOW to get to their goal as fast as possible. That’s tactics not strategy. Strategic thinking requires you know WHY you are intent on pursuing any particular course of action.
When you are clear about your why, you'll know what to do and know what to say no to. Developing a strategy, no matter how well thought out, is still pretty much an educated guess. No one can predict the future. But you can, through strategic thinking prepare for possible futures.
Strategic thinking is an inherent talent. You have it or you don’t.
Certainly one can learn the principles of strategic thinking. However, if you don’t possess the natural talent for strategic thinking, the mastery will be more difficult. It’s like trying to learn to play the piano when you have no natural talent for music.
Interestingly enough, those with the gift of strategic thinking hardly see at such. Like breathing, your talents operate effortlessly mostly under your awareness.
Here are several attributes and themes shared by all strategic thinkers:
Strategic thinkers see through the clutter and the bullshit.
They have an extraordinary perspective on how the world works. They “see” pathways hidden inside complexity. They are genius at recognizing patterns. These patterns, pathways or insights often result in uncanny solutions rich in their obvious simplicity.
Strategic thinkers are naturally curious.
They link “what if “scenarios together like pearls in a necklace. They are always several moves ahead of where the world happens to be on the chessboard of life. They’re relentless in their curiosity, which usually enables them to spot trends that have lucrative opportunities embedded within them.
Strategic thinkers think about the important and not so much on the urgent.
While others focus on navel gazing their immediate circumstances, strategic thinkers find it incredibly obvious that if you look down the road a bit and decide what you want to have happen when you get there, you won’t be a victim of your current circumstances anymore.
Strategic thinkers evaluate risks and obstacles.
Strategic thinkers don’t pursue any course of action without careful consideration of the downside. Then they systematically assess “if this or that happens, can we live with that outcome?” They are usually more prepared and ready for where events may lead them. Their good luck is really nothing more than preparation meets opportunity.
Strategic thinkers are not attached to preconceived ideas or the status quo.
They use their insight and intuition to cull through and discard the potential pathways leading to resistance and confusion. They fail faster and move on quickly applying the learning.
There’s an old saying “it takes one to know one” Hopefully that’s the case for you! Our natural inclinations always reveal our strengths. If you have the awareness and application of your inner strengths, you’ll spend less time thinking about your shortcomings.
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