Being able to develop your strategic mindset is very important whether you are still studying in a school or working in a multi-national company. Parents should help their little ones hone their strategic thinking skills since they are young. Thereafter, children should be nurtured to cultivate their strategic mindset during their schooling years (primary and secondary) so that they can fully utilize this valuable skills later on in their life.
For the uninitiated, strategic thinking skills would include 4 main skills namely communication skills, analytical skills, critical thinking skills (problem-solving) and management skills. Hence it is safe to say strategic thinking skills would allow you to do something from A to Z more effectively and outstandingly. So one who is able to hone his strategic mindset will be the one pulling all the strings among his peers.
It's time to dive into your mind
Needless to say being able to think strategically is one of the most sought after skills whether you are studying in a university or leading your company's sales team. Equipped with this priceless thinking ability, a debater can lead his group to give effective rebuttals that would help his team to be victorious; A marcom manager could leverage on social media engagement and content marketing to drive sales for the company. Truly, those who do not put in effort to develop strategic thinking skills will be at the losing end.
6 Ways To Develop Strategic Thinking Skills
1. Ask The Right Questions
Being able to ask the right questions is one of the most basic ways to develop your strategic thinking skills. Strategic questioning allows you to be better at identifying opportunities. Essentially it means you know how to intelligently pry for answers that could lead to the next question. It's like having a checklist (blueprint) to verify the problem that you are troubleshooting. Thus when you could get the answers to the questions that you want, you can plan accordingly to accomplish your final goal. In other words, being able to ask the right questions will also mould you to be a better thinker and planner.
2. Cast Away Your Ego
In order to nurture a strategic mindset, one must first leave their pride behind them. To think strategically means to begin with the end in mind and that means you will need to ignore the perceptions and misrepresentations that others might have for you (if any). When you cast away your ego you will accept criticisms and conflicting ideas that are better than what you have proposed. So purge your selfish pride and focus on the main goal-the bigger picture.
3. Take Off Your Glasses of Prejudice
Discrimination in any form will immediately cloud your judgement. Once you are able to evaluate something without any hint of bias, that's when you can think strategically to plan for your next course of action. Though this will not be easy, being aware that you are slightly partial can also help you to be more rational. The ability to be unbiased will endow you to have more empathy and in turn you will become an active listener who can gather useful inputs and resources.
4. Be a Scrutinizer
Always weigh the pros and cons of every single action that you plan to take. Inspect carefully each option that you have at your disposal. Simulate the possible chain reactions when you execute a command to find out in depth how much you will gain or lose. Then compare the the most feasible outcomes and pick the one that will bring you one step closer to goals.
5. Expect for The Worst, Plan for The Best
To develop strategic thinking skills one needs to be realistic and practical. You will never ever have everything that you need. There will always be shortcomings and limitations. When you agree to this notion you will immediately learn to expect for the worst. That means you anticipate worst case scenarios where obstacles, hurdles and questionings will be thrown in your path. Brainstorm and think creatively about all the possible failures that could set you back no matter how ridiculous they might sound. Then for each of the scenario, revise the best contingency plan to counter it. Remember: If you failed to prepare, be prepared to fail.
6. Practice Makes Perfect
Last but not least, you will need to apply and practise the methods that we have listed above. The more you practise, of course the faster you can develop your strategic thinking skills. Try to employ the methods as often as you can so that you can gain more exposure and experience. Use them whenever it is possible be it while playing chess, organizing a competition or when you are delegating tasks for a groups project.
Strategic thinking skill will be a priceless asset for anybody
There is no doubt that everyone should cultivate their strategic mindset as it will be useful for different stages of our life. Honing our strategic thinking skills is actually a vital learning process, teaching us how to think instead of what to think. Thinking strategically can not only empower us to identify opportunities more easily, but also guide us to overcome challenges and adversities. I will go as far to say that it is an asset that will help you to excel in everything. So do you want to develop your strategic thinking skills?