Tips to Develop Your Strategic Thinking Skills

Tips to Develop Your Strategic Thinking Skills

Developing strategic thinking skills is useful not only in your career and work environment but also in your personal life. Strategic thinking has a role in making decisions about your career, your business, education, family life, financial decisions, and personal goals.

Strategic thinking helps you analyze complex situations, problems, or options. It helps you make better decisions and develop creative solutions that move you toward your goals. Strategic thinking involves analytical and critical thinking skills, such as problem-solving and decision-making.

Tips to Develop Your Strategic Thinking Skills

Here are five tips I offer my clients to help them think strategically:

  1. Ask yourself facilitative questions that spur your thinking. Pretend you are the facilitator of a strategic thinking session. Ask yourself questions that stimulate your thinking. Here are a few examples: (randomly ordered)
    a.What facts do you know about the situation/circumstance?
    b. What resources do you already have?
    c. Why is this important?
    d. How does this impact you? Others?
    e. What insights have you gained?
    f. How does this fit with your priorities?
  2. Be objective while considering multiple perspectives. Strategic thinkers consider multiple facets before making a decision. Look at problems from different angles. Consider input from different stakeholders. Think creatively. Be open to hearing viable solutions that may be different than yours.

    Use brainstorming to practice being open-minded and objective. When you encounter a problem, practice brainstorming as many different solutions/options as you can think of, even if some seem totally impossible or far-fetched. One of the “rules” of brainstorming is to consider all options.
  1. Practice Critical Thinking
    Strategic thinking requires analysis of information. Ask yourself facilitative questions about what you read – news, reports, market trends, financial information, etc. Ask yourself questions such as “What is the source of this information?” “Is the source credible? Is it current?” “What insights can I draw from the information?”, “How does this impact me? My job? My personal life? My goals?”
  2. Examine Consequences
    When faced with a problem, explore the pros and cons of possible solutions before making your decision. Make two lists side by side. Label one PROS and the other CONS. It helps to be able to see both the PROS and CONS side-by-side. After you brainstorm all the items for both lists, spend time looking at the lists side-by-side. What insights can you gather simply from the visual of the lists? Is one list longer? Does one list have more space between items? If so, why? Was it harder to think of one list than the other? Did you really list all the options? Or did your preconceived desire interfere with brainstorming?
  3. Set Goals and Develop the Plan to Reach Your Goals
    To be an effective strategic thinker in business, you need to be able to set goals and develop a strategic plan to achieve those goals. To develop this skill, practice setting goals in your personal life. Develop the game plan to achieve those goals. Measure your progress to help you stay focused and on track. It doesn’t matter whether your goal is small or large. Create the game plan. Implement it. Measure your progress. This works for your personal life and your business life.

Resources to Develop Your Strategic Thinking Skills

There are a variety of resources available to help you develop your strategic thinking skills. Books, online courses, workshops, and training programs are some of the options.

Sign up for my online course, Accelerate Your Business Growth Using Strategic Planning™. The next session begins June 13th, 2023. The activities throughout the course will help you develop your strategic thinking skills.

Judy Whalen
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