Becoming a strategic thinker is key to contributing to your organization's success, and routinely working on your strategic thinking skills is a beneficial self-development and career goal. Participating in the design of strategies within your workplace will give you a greater sense of fulfillment and more motivation to show up every day.
1. You need to take risks.
There are certain innate qualities top strategic thinkers have, such as creativity and the willingness to take risks. This may not inherently be a part of your personality, but the ability to gain a certain comfort level with risk-taking can be learned by leveraging the support of colleagues who are more adept at strategic thinking.
Allow yourself to be teachable and open to their shared knowledge. With the encouragement of your coworkers, the risks you contemplate taking will not seem as intimidating and will be easier to execute. Realize the advantages associated with reasonable risk-taking and its inevitable place in organizational growth, as well as your own personal development. As you become more comfortable with taking on new ventures and contributing ideas, share these skills with other team members.
2. Merge creativity with innovation.
In order to reach the height of true strategic thinking, it is important to realize that this type of thought process goes beyond creativity toward innovation. If you are naturally gifted with being creative, you are already one step ahead. Harnessing that talent into innovation to implement more effective strategies in your work environment, will result in a more tactical use of your imaginative ideas. Evaluate the current procedures and strategize ways to improve those methods.
3. Practice your strategic thinking daily.
As with any skill, the more you practice it, the more successful you will become. Take time daily to exercise and hone your strategic thinking capabilities. Stay cognizant of opportunities to enhance this level of thinking when problems arise in your workplace and show yourself as an asset to your organization. Great strategic thinkers engage in continual learning and thrive in a work culture that values strategy.
4. Remember to have fun.
Keeping the fun in strategic thinking will encourage you to develop those thought processes. There are certainly stressful elements involved with creating a plan of action to deal with a crisis on the job or operational component that is no longer effective. If you can figure out a way to calmly deal with these situations and find a level of enjoyment in the experience, you will be more likely to tap into your full potential.
5. Don't be bound by your title.
There are often exceptional strategic thinkers within an institution that unfortunately never have a chance to excel. It is worthwhile to look beyond job titles and welcome input from various levels within an organizational structure. Speak up if you feel you have value to contribute and refrain from being hesitant to give someone a chance who may not be in a conventional decision-making role.
6. Take time to rebalance.
Accepting your limits and taking time to gain balance is a vital part of productive strategic thinking. If you are feeling drained mentally and physically, your thinking will not be as sharp. Studies have shown that integrating exercise into your workday helps to stimulate creativity. Perhaps take a walk to clear your mind or you can easily incorporate motion at work with a standing desk mat. A motion deck is an optimal way to increase your heart rate and range of motion. Setting up your workspace with helpful items like a balancing board will give you access to rejuvenation throughout the day.
7. Focus on the Future.
As a strategic thinker, it is important to accept change and stay forward-thinking. It can be tempting to remain in your comfort zone or feel you have mastered the craft of strategy. It is best to maintain an optimistic yet realistic viewpoint in regard to your organization's future. Accepting the unpredictability that accompanies making strategic decisions and appreciating the excitement within that will increase your success. Find other ways to keep the process exciting, such as working with a standing desk and accessories so you stay motivated. As you persistently develop your strategic thinking skills, the stronger you and your organization will become.
What do you think it takes to become a strategic thinker? Comment below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.