We all know that developing strategic thinking skills is important, but many don’t realize how critical it is to your career advancement to show these skills to your boss and other senior leaders. Showing strategic thinking skills tells your bosses that you’re able to think for yourself and make decisions that position the organization for the future.
Critical Skill #1: Strategic thinkers have the ability to use the left (logical) and right (creative) sides of their brain. This skill takes practice as well as confidence and can be tremendously valuable.
Critical Skill #2: They have the ability to develop a clearly defined and focused business vision OR personal vision. They are skilled at both thinking with a strategic purpose as well as creating a visioning process. They have both skills and they use them to complement each other.
Critical Skill #3: They have the ability to clearly define their objectives and develop a strategic action plan with each objective broken down into tasks and each task having a list of needed resources and a specific timeline.
Critical Skill #4: They have the ability to design flexibility into their plans by creating some benchmarks in their thinking to review progress. Then they use those benchmarks to as a guide and to recognize the opportunity to revise their plans as needed. They have an innate ability to be proactive and anticipate change, rather than being reactive to changes after they occur. They’re always learning
Strategic thinking skills are developed by committing to constant learning and self-improvement. Whether it’s learning from their own experiences, the experiences of others, books, presentations, networks, conferences or junior colleagues, strategic thinkers don’t dismiss any potential sources of education.
They always seek advice from others
In the spirit of being able to prepare for the future and make constant improvements, strategic thinkers welcome feedback and advice from others. They test ideas and concepts and ensure that criticisms are examined and incorporated where relevant. This process makes their plans and strategies as robust and steadfast as possible.
They’re not afraid to take risks
Great strategic thinkers understand that professional excellence doesn’t always emerge from a cookie-cutter approach. After careful consideration, they take risks on new ideas, innovative solutions and unique pitches, prepared for both success and failure, and always willing to learn from their mistakes.
They never forget organisational purpose
Whether a business builds intuitive websites for clients or sells diverse share portfolios, strategic thinkers will never neglect their purpose or people. If the strategic thinking and planning doesn’t revolve around these two key elements, it has failed to be strategic at all.
To be viewed as a strategic thinker, you must also demonstrate that you can use your knowledge to put new ideas into action. No matter your level, you can demonstrate strategic thinking by executing an innovative project that shows that your understanding extends beyond your current function.