ARE YOU A STRATEGIC THINKER?
I felt compelled to write this blog today as a conversation with a young friend who did not realise or perhaps had forgotten that she is a strategic thinker.
My young friend, Danielle, whom I met a number of years ago, showed me then and still does that she is one of the most strategic thinkers I know.
I had to remind her of this and I know that there are many out there that live with or work with people who use jargon so much so that like me they often wonder or say to themselves ‘what are they talking about?’
Now I know that jargon is used in organisations often to make life easier or simpler but can be challenging for newcomers until they understand the particular jargon or acronyms of that organisation.
I am not referring to such jargon here. I am talking about those people (not all) who use ‘big’ words to make themselves sound superior but when challenged they often can’t explain what they mean.
As a business mentor for many years I have been involved in mentoring at executive level and remember when I was asked to join a board meeting where members were having difficulty in working together or for the aims of the organisation. It became evident that the Chair spoke in terms such as strategic thinking etc. that many of the members did not understand what he meant. I decided to challenge the Chair and ask him directly if he could explain what he meant and his answer? Even more words about everyone having to work as a strategic team, towards a strategic goal etc. etc!! No wonder the members were confused.
So when I was reminded of this in my conversation with my young friend today I decided that this blog was necessary. When you read this blog many of you will realise that you are strategic thinkers.
So what is strategic thinking – are you a strategic thinker?
In simple terms: you are a strategic thinker if you:
- Can analyse which means examining in detail ideas and information and create a plan of action
- Can communicate complex ideas and information in such a way that others understand and work together to ensure they share the same aims and goals to be achieved
- Can solve problems (whether in the workplace or life in general). This involves understanding the problem, thinking of and identifying a solution and then implementing it by creating and managing (by yourself or with others) an action plan to bring everything together
Ask yourself these questions. I’m certain you will find that you are a strategic thinker.
Take a moment to think of a time when you were sitting in a meeting. Did you actively participate in the meeting by asking questions, putting forward ideas, suggesting a plan of action?
If the answer is yes – you are a strategic thinker.
If the answer is no – were you thinking all these things but too afraid to actually voice them?
Don’t worry if your answer was no, you are probably still a strategic thinker but perhaps too shy or afraid to voice them, particularly if you are a junior member of a team.
This blog is to help you realise that you do have or can have strategic thinking skills. And of course it is easy to gain and improve such skills through having the right mindset and practice.
This is where my MindCircles ABC techniques come in. My ABC are proven psychological strategies for helping you change your mindset.
Further good news is that strategic thinking skills are management competencies and highly sought-after. So no matter where you are on the career ladder being a strategic thinker can take you places.
Whether in work (starting your own business or re-organising your department) or in life in general always ask questions. It is particularly important if you are an employee that you ask questions (where appropriate and required) about your role and responsibilities as this helps you understand them and know how to act on them.
Questions can also relate to challenges or opportunities or where something is said that is ambiguous and you need clarification.
The greatest skill (in my opinion)
In my opinion the greatest skill is to be able to impart your knowledge in such a way that everyone understands what you are talking about. (I hope Danielle doesn’t mind me saying that this is a skill she has in abundance).
Onwards and upwards to everyone.
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Note: the information in this blog is not exhaustive but is meant to help you understand that you have or can have strategic thinking skills. It’s up to you.
Virtual hugs to all