Ways of Improving Your Strategic Thinking Skills

If asking any experienced business leader what the single most important ingredient for success in business is, the response would likely be the capacity to execute a well thought out business strategy. Part of strategy execution is also the existence of a written business strategy at the core of any business. Without a long-term business strategy, there is no business. Without proper strategy execution, a well thought-out business strategy written nicely on paper will definitely fail.

Strategic thinking, therefore, is important to any business person, manager and leader. The ability of strategic thinking allows for you to plan both long-term and short-term, and helps you to adjust your strategic plan along the way, in accordance with your (changing) operational environment.

How can you improve your strategic thinking skills? There are definitely many ways, at the core of which is to understand better how your brain works! Your brain likes to be challenged, at any age, because pushing yourself beyond old limits and patterns of behavior and thinking will allow for your brain to perform better. Continuous learning, including unlearning old behaviors and patterns, is therefore at the core of being a good strategist.

Moreover, challenging yourself, including your attitude and beliefs, allows for you to gain completely new experiences and perspectives. That is why it is so important for any good strategist to remain curious throughout career and life, know how to question things, and learn how to see the big picture. Enough rest and sleep is also important, as well as distancing oneself regularly from any noise in one´s surrounding: that is, taking time out on a daily basis to meditate and to find a quiet place where you can distance yourself from the everyday noise in your life. It can be as short as a few minutes.

Since many business people and leaders, including entrepreneurs, find their existence at times being rather lonesome, it is extremely important to find people to exchange ideas and thoughts with. If you are an online entrepreneur, for instance, you can selectively join various groups and activities both in the 3D world and online. We are all social beings and depend on other human beings in many ways. Asking others for help, and/or gaining perspective by engaging with different kinds of people in both business and private will definitely be an enriching experience and an eye-opener for anyone who wants to improve and develop her/his strategic thinking skills.

What other ways can you think of? Please comment and share your experiences, ideas and thoughts!

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Have courage!

The bird that dares to fall is the bird that learns to fly.

flyhigh

Dear Coach, Facilitator, and Mentor

White-fronted Scops Owls. Freedigitalphotos.net
White-fronted Scops Owls. Freedigitalphotos.net

I am writing this letter to provide you with guidance and support on your exciting, upcoming, life-long learning and development journey as a coach, facilitator and mentor in your continuously evolving identity work with individuals and people who you will meet, exchange ideas and thoughts, interact and communicate with.

However important theoretical knowledge is I would like to pinpoint the fact that your role as a knowledge worker includes a number of factors that you might want to put an emphasis upon especially. After all, the greatest asset of someone involved in human/humanitarian work, is the ability, interest, and willingness to be involved with other social beings, who all have their personal beliefs, value systems, and minds. Becoming, and being a coach, facilitator and mentor is a calling, and although not comparable with the profession of a doctor or a psychiatrist, your work can greatly affect and influence those around you. Therefore, and because you have chosen to work with minds, there are certain aspects in your work that you should especially keep in mind.  These include:

  • Acceptance

Your role as a coach, facilitator and mentor (one of these, or all combined), is not to force change in other individuals. Rather, your role is to accept people and individuals as they are. Depending upon the coaching/facilitating situation, and/or the group of individuals/people you are working with, you will have to tailor your work accordingly. There are differences between coaching, facilitation and mentoring situations/sessions, but you will always have to accept people as they are and not force change in them. Rather, seek to be a role model through your own behavior and through setting an example, and let individuals find in themselves the power to become who they were meant to be.

  • Balance

You will have to be in balance with yourself in order to create balance in your learning/teaching environment. Focus upon being in balance, and notice how you can affect your environment through the expansion of your personal energies.

  • Communication

Your work is all about communication, and about developing these skills in other individuals, including not only public speaking, but also non-verbal communication and listening skills. As a coach and mentor, you will have to develop your personal communication skills in order to create and get to desired results.

  • Creativity

Life is not about finding yourself, it is about creating you. Creativity is the lifeblood of everything, so nurture, develop and make use of your creative potential and allow for others to express their creativity as well. There are many ways of communicating and expressing creativity – just let your imagination flow freely and do not be afraid of creating completely new paths through audio, visualization, or kinesthetic learning and development solutions.

  • Development

As a coach/facilitator/mentor, you will not only deal with continuous personal development and learning, but most importantly, develop individuals and people who you work with. You will also learn to understand that development occurs at all times, although you may not always see the results immediately. Sometimes, it will take years to create and to get to the results that you seek to see through your work, but learn how to use certain types of tools for receiving feedback and making sure that at least some development is noticeable within a specific time frame.

  • Empathy and emotional intelligence

Empathy is part of emotional intelligence, but emotional intelligence stretches far beyond simply being empathetic. Your life work with human beings and individuals is all about social interaction and communication that require being emotionally intelligent. Developing emotional intelligence in your personal life and in other individuals is an essential factor in achieving success through your work.

  • Identity

As a coach, facilitator, and mentor you will get in acquaintance not only with your personal identity, but also with the identities of those who you work with. Teaching is identity work.

  • Improvisation

Improvisation, drama and theatrics are developing, learning, and teaching methods that allow creativity and imagination to expand. Improvisation is also sought-after, especially in unexpected circumstances and situations. If you have no materials to work with, improvisation allows you to create learning situations using your/your student´s minds and physical bodies to create completely new learning situations.

  • Journal/Learning Diary

If not already, learn how to journal and write down your (learning) experiences, and teach the same to those you work with. A journal/learning diary may be expressed in many forms/ways. It may be very personal, or shared in public with others. It may be expressed in a number of ways, through creative writing, poems, audio, or video. Make it a regular habit, if not daily, then at least on a weekly or monthly basis.

  • Memoir

Write a memoir about your life, and about your experiences. You can combine your journal/learning diary with your memoir, and keep it only for yourself unless you are/will be ready to publish it officially at some stage in your life. Writing/keeping a journal is a great way of learning/developing, and who will most benefit from your personal learning and development, if not you yourself, as well as your students.

  • Negotiation skills

Negotiation skills are essential in all areas of life, and business. Also in coaching and developing yourself, and other individuals. Be prepared to learn more about, and develop negotiation skills because you will need these in every aspect of your life, not least in coaching/mentoring situations.

  • Objectivity and open-mindedness

Being objective is perhaps one of the most difficult skills a human being can ever possess, since all our actions are based upon our personal beliefs, and value systems. As a coach/facilitator/mentor, however, you will have to develop objectivity and be open-minded.

  • Perseverance and persuasion

Coaching, facilitating, mentoring, and life in general, are all about learning how to persevere and to persuade. However, as already once mentioned, do not force your ideas upon other people. Rather, be a role model and allow them to tap into their greatest potential through acceptance, encouragement, and allowance.

  • Spirituality

Working with your personal mind, tapping into, and working with other individual´s minds requires for you to be spiritually open-minded and constantly open to spiritual development. Do not fear about creating and developing spiritual connections with people whom you work with.

  • Tolerance

During your career, your will have to experience, and deal with a number of situations, requiring for you to be tolerant with how things, and people, behave and unfold. However much acceptance and tolerance you will have to develop in yourself, you also will have to learn how to draw boundaries and protect yourself from certain kinds of behavior. You will also have to learn how to develop a thick skin, unless you have developed this in yourself. Be tolerant, yes, but make sure to know how to act in challenging situations.

  • Uniqueness

You are a unique individual, working with other unique individuals/personalities. Always have respect for your uniqueness, but also respect the uniqueness of others.

  • Vision

As a coach, facilitator, mentor, or all of these, you will have to have vision in the work you do, and help other individuals tap into their vision in creating their futures.

  • Wisdom

It may take a lifetime to develop true wisdom, something that only experience can teach us. However, seek to develop wisdom in yourself and in your students because wisdom allows us to raise our vibrations and evolve into human beings with a higher spiritual consciousness.