We all have a strategy. Whether it’s a way to win a simple game or to arrive at a certain location, we have strategies all the time. It really comes down to ‘ifs’. If I take highway 7, there will be less traffic. If I take his last pawn, I’ll have a clear shot at his Queen.
Utilizing strategic thinking for business is really the same thing. If we do this, we will be closer to achieving that. It’s really about planning. Planning out how to reach your goals.
Here is a closer look at what strategic thinking is and why it’s important to today’s business.
What is Strategic Thinking?
Strategic thinking is a process that people use to plan out their futures. It can be for your personal life, your business or any other aspect of your life. It really involves creating a plan and a way to fulfill it.
It’s a unique ability to use both sides of your brain, the creative side and the logical side. This allows people to visualize what they want and the clearest path to reaching it. That means each step is defined.
It also means allowances for flexibility. Planning your strategy means knowing there will be snags and changes that will crop up. It also means they are open to suggestions and seeking help where it is needed.
It takes willpower and focus to think strategically. It is staying focused on the goal but also allowing for changes and revisions.
Strategic Thinking and Business
Every business needs a plan. A strategy often takes a series of plans. A business will need a short term goal, long term goals and vision. A business will often revisit these plans regularly in order to make sure they are on track and if there are adjustments to be made.
A business needs to plan out how to use the resources they have to achieve the goals they have set out. The goal of the business is success and advancement, but the strategy comes from the ‘how’.
It’s looking at what you have and how to best use it. It can be a struggle for small businesses to get ahead, have enough staff or funds for what they really want to do. Strategic thinking is all about setting that all out and making the most of it.
Knowing Your Competitors
Keeping an eye on your competition means always knowing where they are. You can learn just as much from their mistakes as you can from their achievements. Knowing their weak spots is all apart of planning to succeed.
Strategic thinking has to be a part of your business plan. It can’t be a one-time event. Things in business change all the time and you need to not only be ready but prepared. That means taking a critical look at their business and yours.
Can Strategic Thinking Be Taught?
In a word, yes. It’s a vital part of running any business or corporation. Having these critical thinkers onboard would benefit the organization greatly. People can learn how to tap into their own strategic thinking powers and even teach others to do it.
- Take Time
Taking time to actually think about the matter at hand is important. It also means prioritizing your other work. Put things aside you can and work on the things you need to. Thinking is the key here, so take time for that. Maybe on your train ride to work or relaxing at lunch time.
- Learn to use your whole brain
This simply means looking at things from different angles. You need to be able to feel emotional about the situation. You also need to be able to remove yourself from the feelings and try and see where it will all go wrong.
Thinking creatively and logically can be done along with questioning your decisions, going with your hunches and trying to balance optimism with realistic outcomes. It’s really a matter of stepping back and trying to see things from all angles.
- Listen to others
Asking hard questions and listening to other’s opinions is very important. It can be difficult to hear that your ideas are not great but it will help you see the bigger picture and make better decisions. It also opens the door for more possibilities and not getting hung up on one or two only.
This means listening to people in social situations, as well. People are telling you about themselves, their fears, goals and values all the time. It’s really just a matter of hearing what they are saying. And what they are needing.
- Learn all you can
Getting out of your comfort zone can help a great deal. Many great strategists are well-read and well-traveled. They experience new things and take an interest in new foods, different cultures and new views and opinions.
Visiting a new art gallery or a different section of your city can inspire you in many ways. Look up from your phone or your desk and look around you. Your next great vision might be right there on the train or the takeaway falafel hut on your corner.
Asking for opinions, help and advice is a great way to involve people and get all those creative lines humming. Everyone has an opinion or an idea. Tapping into those could be a great break through you and the corporation need to build your future plans.
Make Good On Your Idea
The best way to find out if these ideas will work is to start working on them. It’s the only way to see if they will work and then you can make adjustments where needed.
Chances are, you will toss out a few of your ideas, for any number of reasons. But because you generated a lot of ideas, you can go to plan B or C. You can also ask again for more advice.
Strategic thinking is a whole package. It’s building something you can use to achieve the goals of your company and having a few more to fall back on. Strategic thinking thinking is a critical component of being a leader. Business simulations for leadership development can always help today and tomorrow’s leader practice their strategic thinking skills (of course :^) ).