When you hear the words strategic thinking what comes to mind?
Do you shudder and say to yourself — not for me?
Or do you glaze over and just want to get on with the job at hand?
Plan your work, work your plan
I’ve observed that many professionals only plan their work one day at a time. They get to work, prepare their to-do list, and dive into action (although some aren’t even that strategic).
A smaller number plan their work one week at a time. They review their calendar for the week, check their appointments, review their tasks, and then get to work. They generally out-achieve most of their daily-planning colleagues.
Why not take this planning one step further?
At the beginning of each quarter, spend a couple of hours thinking strategy — what do I want to achieve in the next 90 days. This is not too far out and forces you to think in terms of strategy rather than tactics (or tasks).
Then you can plan out the tasks needed to move towards achieving those strategies. It also allows you to allow for the important but not urgent things, like taking some time off or doing some training.
This strategy is one of the reasons I have been able to accomplish much.
The power of strategic thinking
Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem.Zig Ziglar
We all have 24 hour days.
Strategic thinking helps you to plan, to become more efficient, to maximise your strengths, and to find the most direct path toward achieving any objective.
Here are a few of the reasons you should adopt strategic thinking as one of your tools.
Strategic thinking is really nothing more than taking planning to another level.
It takes complex issues and long- term objectives, which can be very difficult to address, and breaks them down into manageable tasks.
Strategic thinking can help you simplify the management of your everyday work by using systems, which are good strategies repeated.
Strategic thinking prompts you to ask the right questions. It forces you through a process — ask questions like:
- What should I do next? Why?
- Who is responsible?
- What is the cost? Is it within the budget (is there a budget)?
- How long would it take? Can it be finished within the required time?
Strategic thinking greatly reduces any margin for error. It lines up your actions with your objectives. The better aligned you are with your target, the better the odds that you will be going in the right direction.
Strategic thinking helps you get you to where you want to be. It gives direction today and increases your potential for success tomorrow.
To become a better strategic thinker, break down the issue into smaller tasks, ask why before how, challenge assumptions, clarify the problem and desired outcome, who should you work closely with and what resources are needed.
Ask yourself this strategic thinking question: Am I implementing strategic thinking that gives me direction for today and increase my potential for tomorrow?