What Does It Take to Be A Strategic Thinker?

“Curious, Not Judgmental.” – Walt Whitman

Strategic thinking is a skill in how we think, assess, view, solve problems, and create our future for ourselves and others. 

It’s basically knowing what you to achieve and how to achieve it. It’s not always easy to develop a strategic approach, as it’s both mindset and techniques. 

Strategic thinkers can see the big picture, identify the potential impact and set up a plan to get there. Strategic thinkers have seven primary qualities in common:

  • Vision
  • Perceptiveness
  • Assertiveness
  • Framework
  • Flexibility
  • Emotional Balance
  • Patience

Let’s look at what those are in more detail.

  1. They can think logically and creatively, using both left and right sides of the brain.
  2. Strategic thinkers can develop a clearly outlined and focused vision for business or personal needs. 
  3. They can create flexibility into their plans by creating benchmarks to guide them and recognise opportunities to revise plans when they need to.
  4. Strategic thinkers are aware and perceptive of themselves and what’s around them. They recognise subtle external and internal clues to guide their direction and seize upon opportunities for themselves or their organisation. 
  5. They listen, hear, and understand what others say. They read and observe whatever they can to use as a guide.
  6. They often have “Ah Ha” moments while relaxing or doing other activities.
  7. Strategic thinkers have a clear definition of their objective and develop an action plan broken down into tasks that have a list of needed resources or a specific timeline.
  8. The best thinkers take time for themselves. It can be a retreat, a walk in some place special to them, relaxing in the lobby of a historic hotel or an afternoon alone with a blank sheet of paper or document just for thinking.
  9. Strategic thinkers are often lifelong learners, learning from every experience put before them and in every part of life.
  10. Strategic thinkers can balance their immense amounts of creativity with a sense of honesty and realism about what they can achieve in the long term. They refer to themselves as realistic optimists.
  11. They are committed to and often seek advice, confide in, and offer ideas for feedback from a coach, mentor, a peer group or other group.
  12. They are non-judgmental and don’t allow themselves to be restricted by judging their own thoughts.
  13. Strategic thinkers are patient. They don’t rush to conclusions, knowing great ideas requires time to develop into success in the future.
  14. They see a potential for how the world should be and take the steps to get there.
  15.  Strategic thinkers set up and commit to deadlines. 
  16. They are conscious of their own biases. 
  17. They are observant, watching before forming a judgement.
  18. They understand other people’s intentions, desires, and hopes.
  19. Strategic thinkers make quick informed decisions.
  20. They are excellent communicators, effectively communicating what they want and need through clear directions or orders. 
  21. They respect the thoughts and desires of others.
  22. They react calmly under pressure.
  23. Strategic thinkers have a high level of confidence and self-esteem.
  24. They know their weaknesses and seek advice from others in those areas. 
  25. They are flexible thinkers, so they can shift gears and think about things in more than one way.

How many of these do you relate to?

Strategic thinkers develop skills that allow them to have a vision, to see where they want to go and to create the plan and implement the steps to get there. You can develop these skills to become a strategic thinker.

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