Strategic Thinking

“Traditional thinking is all about “what is.” Future thinking will also need to be about “what can be.” – Edward de Bono

Strategic Thinking Overview

Strategic thinking is about analyzing opportunities and problems from a broad perspective and understanding the potential impact your actions may have on your team or organization. Strategic thinkers ask questions, gather information, and challenge assumptions about how things work in their organization.

Why Strategic Thinking is Important to a Leader

Leaders must look beyond their immediate team and tasks. They must look at the big picture of an organization and be able to link the organization’s strategy to what is being done by their team on a day-to-day basis. Thinking strategically helps a leader see future obstacles or problems and gives them the basis for overcoming these difficulties. It is also important that a leader use strategic thinking to identify and examine intended and unintended consequences of potential solution to a problem.

Vision and strategic thinking in businessBenefits for the Leader

Leaders who are adept at strategic thinking can make a greater contribution to the success of an organization because they are focused on the long term outcomes. Strategic thinking enables the leader to understand the linkages between day-to-day tasks and the overall strategy of the organization and communicate these linkages to team members.

Top 3 Coaches’ recommendations for Strategic Thinking
  1. Think about a situation you are faced with or a decision you need to make. What are the pros, cons and implications of each alternative? Consider all the options and determine how you can develop a plan consistent with the strategic plan of your organization.
  2. Consider meeting with your peer leaders and team members on a regular basis to brainstorm improvements and assign actions to initiate steps and accomplish them. The outcome of each meeting should be a list of prioritized improvements and action items for accomplishing the highest priority items.
  3. Draw a chart that links your team’s tactics and initiatives with the strategic vision of the organization. If you have difficulty, consider brainstorming with other leaders. Ensure that your team understands the linkages between what they do and the organization’s vision.
Measure and Improve Your Strategic Thinking Skills and Behaviors

Be determined to improve your strategic thinking skills and behaviors. Take the short strategic thinking self-assessment on this page to identify where to improve your strategic thinking skills and behaviors. Then, get more coaches’ recommendations in Chapter 10 of The Leadership Compass: Mapping Your Leadership Direction to help you fine-tune your strategic thinking skills and behaviors.

Related Competencies:


Strategic Thinking

Measure your Strategic Thinking skills and behaviors!

Select your level of agreement with each statement in the self-assessment.
When answering the questions, consider how others might evaluate your strategic thinking skills.


Recommended Strategic Thinking Books:

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