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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Strategic leadership vision

Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality. ~ Warren G. Bennis

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Visionary Leadership

If light is in your heart, you will find your way home. ~ Rumi

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How Visionary Leaders Execute Strategy

"Triangle and Eye". Artist: dan/Freedigitalphotos.net. ID: 10041825.
“Triangle and Eye”. Artist: dan/Freedigitalphotos.net. ID: 10041825.

As an entrepreneur, one of the biggest challenges you will face will be building your brand. The ultimate goal is to set your company and your brand apart from the crowd. If you form a strategy without doing the research, your brand will barely float – and at the speed industries move at today, brands sink fast. (Ryan Holmes)

Unbiased or not, but working and reflecting upon strategies from various perspectives, I have learned that there are huge differences between creating and executing strategies, depending upon the setting, organization, and surroundings you are operating in.

To simplify; the gap between creating a sustainable, long-term strategy as an entrepreneur is very different from developing and executing a strategy within a large organization, or a well-known brand. Business-owners and entrepreneurs will definitely understand the point here, and those people who actually have created their strategies from scratch, rather than operated with a “security” backup from a large organization. Both involve risks, but failing in the execution of a strategy probably have more severe consequences for a business owner who has sacrificed his/her whole life into building a successful business, than it has for a strategist of a large organization who, perhaps, will only risk losing his/her job if the thought-out, and executed strategy won´t lead to desired results.

Swift as The Wind, Quiet as The Forest, Conquer like The Fire, Steady as The Mountain (Sun Tzu)

Creating and executing a long-term strategy/multiple strategies requires long-term, processed thinking, continuous work, and persistence. There is no simple answer to how to create, and how to live out, a strategy, as it depends upon the desired outcome, and upon the complexity of the strategy.

Strategic vision, on the other hand, can be developed, and maintained through a number of regular activities, including the capability of handling complex thinking-processes, long-term planning, a vision of the desired future state, persistent work and efforts towards the goals, flexibility.

Our world knows, and has known, a number of strategists, some more successful than others. From my educational background I can refer to author Michael Porter, University Professor at The Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness based at the Harvard Business School, whose work became familiar to me through my MBA studies a few years ago. Furthermore, entrepreneurs especially, may be interested in learning more about the Blue Ocean Strategy @ www.blueoceanstrategy.com/

Michael Porter speech upon Why Business Can be Good at Solving Social Problems:

There is no development strategy more beneficial to society as a whole – women and men alike – than the one which involves women as central players. (Kofi Annan)

A satisfied customer is the best business strategy of all. (Michael LeBouef)

Study strategy over the years and achieve the spirit of the warrior. Today is victory over yourself of yesterday; tomorrow is your victory over lesser men. (Miyamoto Musashi)

Success doesn’t necessarily come from breakthrough innovation but from flawless execution. A great strategy alone won’t win a game or a battle; the win comes from basic blocking and tackling. (Naveen Jain)

You may not be interested in strategy, but strategy is interested in you. (Leon Trotsky)

The best CEOs I know are teachers, and at the core of what they teach is strategy. (Michael Porter)

Thank you for reading, reflecting, learning, commenting, and sharing.