Strategic Thinking Skills for Leaders
Every company, big or small, needs strategic thinkers. Leaders that have the skill to create adaptive strategies thrive in the business world. The difference between those who succeed and those who fail often comes down to the way they think. Strategic thinkers think about, assess, and view current issues to create the best future for their business. Strategic thinking involves developing these important skills. Here are the critical skills necessary improve your strategic thinking.
Strategic thinkers take time out for themselves. They do not equate being busy with being effective. A jam-packed schedule of meetings interferes with the ability to step back and view the big picture. Strategic thinkers know the importance of reflection on the issue facing their company and taking time out to ponder options. Block off time to used solely for reflection. This can be in the form of a walk, or an afternoon in a quiet place with a blank sheet of paper or a lap top. Developing this skill is an important part of gaining perspective and evaluate your business.
Strategic thinkers seek out the information even if it contradicts their point of view. Part of being strategic is seeking advice, and debate from others. Trusted advisors can help refine ideas, point out issues, and give an outside evaluation. These advisors can be a coach, a mentor, a peer advisory group or some other group that can offer up feedback. A trusted group can complement your knowledge and add their diverse areas of expertise. Feedback and debating ideas with others can help you to view all angles and to clarify if it is the best course of action for your company.
Strategic forward thinking ensure that an organization is prepared for a difficult-to-predict future. Skilled leaders can succeed in combining strategic thinking and a clear vision of the future of your company. Both skills used together can help plan for and know what success looks like at the end of the first year, the second year and beyond. A clear vision also helps to anticipate what can negatively impact the outcome and spot the early signs of success or failure.
An action plan is necessary to take the vison for your company, and make it a reality. After a plan is created the next step is to break it into smaller pieces. Break each task down with a list of needed resources, and a specific timeline to be completed. Plans will still require flexibility. Strategic thinkers aim for benchmarks in their plans. This allows them to review progress and to recognize if they are moving in the right direction and if their plan needs to be revised.
Verbal and written communication
Strategic thinkers also know how to speak the language. They can prioritize and sequence their thoughts. They structure their verbal and written communication in a way that helps their audience focus on their core message. Strategic leaders can communicate a well-articulated plan to the entire organization. They can clearly explain where the company is now, define the current challenges, and opportunities and deliver a compelling resolution spelling out what strategic success means on a personal and organizational basis.
These critical skills help leaders to focus, prioritize, and be proactive in addressing issues for their fast-growing company. A sustainable successful future requires strategic thinkers to streamline processes and leverage opportunities to be the very best in their industry. Becoming more strategic takes practice and continuity. Honing these skills makes the difference between an average and an exceptional leader – and organization.