10 Ideas How to Think Strategically

“Most people don’t take the time to think. I made a reputation for myself by deciding to think twice a week.” ~ George Bernard Shaw

Strategic thinking is all about how you make decisions. If you have a strategic mindset you will have an intelligent and informed process for making decisions.

You will embrace creative thinking, see solutions to problems, innovate, recognize opportunities and know how to take advantage of them.

As a strategic thinker, you’re thinking ahead, planning for the future, focused on long-term success.

Strategic thinkers:

  • Look towards and embrace the future;
  • Are willing to work hard today to reap the benefits tomorrow;
  • Don’t limit themselves to the ‘tried and true’ or ‘best practice’;
  • Focus on ideas with the greatest impact and ROI;
  • Change their approach when circumstances change;
  • Are lifelong learners;
  • Are creative and think outside the box.

Non-strategic thinkers:

  • Tend to be reactive (wait for guidance or need a lot of advice);
  • Prefer the status quo and don’t always take the time to think about long-term goals;
  • Usually approach all tasks the same way, without prioritizing by urgency or impact;
  • Are hesitant about changing their strategy;
  • Are satisfied with their current level of knowledge and skills;
  • Are predictable and prefer to follow a set path.

Here are 10 ideas you can use to think more strategically:

1. Ask Yourself Bigger, Better Questions

Strategic thinkers challenge their own assumptions and look at challenges from a number of different perspectives before deciding on the best path forward. E.g. What can you learn from the available data, current and past trends? What does your intuition tell you? What is the worst case scenario and how to create contingency plans to avoid it? What is the best case scenario and how to make it happen?

2. Look for Solutions, Not Problems 

Strategic thinkers don’t simply highlight problems; they always come up with proposals and plans for how to take action. They talk in terms of what’s going well, what could be better, and what’s possible – not what’s wrong or deficient. 

3. Think Outside the Box

Here’s one way to get out of the habit of ‘this is how things have always been done’. Each time you come up with a solution to a problem or a way to achieve a goal, stop and think “is there a different, new way to do this?”

4. Invite and Listen to Others’ Perspective

Brainstorm with your team members, suppliers, clients and network connections asking them questions like: What possibilities should I consider? If you were me, how would you approach this problem? Based on your experience, what do you propose should be the next step? 

5. Consider Opposing Ideas

Playing devil’s advocate with your ideas allows you (in advance) to identify weaknesses in your argument and sharpen the logic skills you need to communicate and execute your strategy. Two questions to get you started are: Should you consider a different perspective? Is there another possibility you may have overlooked?

6. Observe and Reflect
Observe and reflect on your current situation, to make sure any strategy you think of is grounded in facts. Instead of blindly following an assumption, gather as much information as possible to use when designing your strategy. For example, conducting interviews with new and old clients to identify the different ways they use your product or service.

7. Embrace Change
Too many entrepreneurs are reluctant to change their strategy and focus, even when circumstances change. Strategic thinkers see the need for change before anyone else, because they always have one eye on the external circumstances (e.g. COVID restriction) and make the time for thinking how to use the change to improve and get better results (e.g. embracing remote working).

8. Prioritize. Prioritize. Prioritize. 
“Urgent” is the enemy of “Important.” Always act on those tasks that will give the greatest benefits today, and leave less impactful tasks for tomorrow. Ask yourself, “what is the one task I can do today that will leverage the most benefit?”

9. Free Yourself from Execution

It’s impossible to find time to think big-picture when you’re constantly task-switching or if your day is packed with meetings. You can cure this by empowering your team to take on tasks that would offer them a learning opportunity and look for meetings that you can eliminate or outsource.

10. Be Willing to Take Risks 

Realize that just being alive is risky. And often – the risk of inaction (opportunity loss) is higher than the risk of taking action and failing. Make it a habit to make every mistake or failure a learning opportunity – thus reducing the long-term risk to minimum.

Now It’s YOUR Turn

For five minutes… come up with as many ideas as you can… what could YOU do to think more strategically?

Let's Brainstorm

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Please share your ideas (all of them or just one) in the comment box below… and let’s get WOWing.

Live fully, stay awesome,

Nisandeh Neta

Let's Brainstorm

00:
Days
00:
Hrs
00:
Mins
00
Secs
.000
00:00:00:00

Please share your ideas (all of them or just one) in the comment box below… and let’s get WOWing.

Live fully, stay awesome,

Nisandeh Neta

  1. Asking the right questions is key. Take a step back and practice a helicopter view helps me a lot. To see the bigger picture and not losing myself in the details. Set your goal / intention and take the first step. The 'how' is not that important. When you focus on the 'how' you might miss opportunities, ideas, insights which can take you further.

  2. Think strategically:
    It can be a personal thing.
    * where am I now and where do I want to go (start with the end in mind). Is the step I want to take helping in that direction?
    * Helpful are the questions : where can I do more/less/different or stop.

  3. Just get out of your biz every now and then and then reflect. Try to practice finding solutions for other problems or products, to learn how to think quickly and out of the box. So just type in a word in google, look for quotes and then "sell" this quote. You will get better with your own products as well.

  4. What remarkably few comments while this is a super important topic and my most favorite topic.

    Visualize strategy in the following way:

    You start at A and end at B. See this route as a road with mountains and valleys. Along the way you will pass pitfalls and thunderstorms will pass over you. The mountains represent processes along the way that slow you down, the valleys are the accelerators and of course you want to prevent yourself from stepping into a trap. The thunderstorms represent pressure, because you always have to deal with pressure along the way.

    At A you ask the question What is possible? How do you achieve the maximum result with B? How can you optimally use your time, your information and the people of your team? Then choose your goal.

    View the visualization from multiple positions for how to ensure that you are not slowed down too much, how to use the accelerators and how to reduce the risks of the pitfalls. What kinds of pressure do you encounter and how do you make maximum use of your potential instead of being guided by the pressure.

    Visualize your goal and your environment now and develop a strategy in which you optimally deploy your resources and people and how you can exert maximum influence on your environment.

    I think that is an effective way of developing strategies.

  5. For me I have a different (non)strategic attitude in different aspects of my business.
    When thinking of a scheme for the students that I guide in mathematics, I can be straightforward, having clear goals and defining good steps.
    In the rich world of mathematical modules that I develop to let students overcome undermining self-confidence in maths, I feel more uncertain, because the goal and moreover the way to reach the goal may differ.
    That is in fact one of the attractive property of building with mathematical modules based on personal interest of the student. I had to develop a plan and a way in how to approach an attractive mathematical problem in general. This is much less open to strategic thinking, but more a journey in an unknown area, and therefor it is a challenge to apply the questions here. I keep you informed...

  6. Absolutely, it's the questions that matter!
    Also- take the time and step out of the rat race every now and then. I take a weekend twice a year, and try to take some me-time (for instance going to a sauna) alone without distraction.
    What really helps me, is having my goals clear. Then whenever I dive into tactics, it's easier to get out and have a look how this is helping me in my goals.
    Reflect on what I did and look at how whatever I did helped me to reach my goals, and also if it makes me happy. I do a lot of things on gut feeling, and that's not a bad thing for me often. It's not strategic, but I make it strategic by valuing it and decide based on the results what to do with it.

    best tip: please find a coach! A coach will help you to stay strategic and pull you by the hair back to what again you were doing in the first place.

  7. For me thinking strategically means focusing on the BIG picture and on my vision.
    I ask myself the question - if there were no limitations what could I do? what goals would I set? and most importantly WHO would I be.
    This always opens for me new directions.

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