One of the most valuable skills you should always develop is your strategic thinking skills. Have you ever sat in a board meeting and everyone is asked to put on their thinking cap? Maybe the company is faced with low sales or productivity. It will take strategic thinking to wriggle out of such a situation. While some can think out solutions on the spot, many can’t, because they haven’t developed their strategic thinking skills. Personal and corporate success lies in strategic thinking. Strategic thinking can be developed if you’re willing to learn the ropes. In this article, I explore 10 scientific proven ways to develop your strategic thinking skills.
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1. Have A Quality Time Reserved For Thinking
Withdrawing from the crowd and noise of your workplace and family into a lonely place for thinking is a fantastic approach towards improving your strategic thinking. Have time alone, away from distractions, for upto 2 hours, to think about the big-picture solution for your business, organizational department and so on.
2. Identify Recurring Problems
When spending time to think, look for recurring problems and eliminate the reasons for their recurrence. For example, if your business is always experiencing low sales during a particular period – may be during bad weather – you can look for alternative ways of producing little products to save cost.
3. Be Curious About Everything
If you want to improve your strategic thinking skills, you must learn to question everything and do away with assumptions. You must always challenge the status quo. Question why things are done in a certain way. Ask if there are other better ways of doing the same task instead of following a longstanding traditional model. Also, if you want to embark on a new enterprise, ask yourself ”what can go wrong?”, ”What kind of problems should I be expecting?” When you question yourself, you stand a better chance of finding solutions.
4. Be Open To New Ideas
If you want to improve your strategic thinking skills, you must seek other perspectives. Don’t surround yourself with people who simply agree with everything you say; have yourself surrounded with people who will disagree with your idea. When faced with a challenge, reach out to people and ask them what they would do when faced with the same challenge. This doesn’t mean you will allow them to take a decision for you. Get to know their opinions, study them, compare theirs with yours and decide what’s best.
5. Be Prepared For Outcomes
Always live in anticipation of potential outcomes. Whenever you’re mentally and emotionally balanced with a level of preparedness, nothing takes you by surprise, and as such, you can easily think things through. If you’re shocked by the outcome of things, it will be difficult to stay focused on your long-term goals. Always live a proactive life.
6. Focus On The Better Options
Strategic thinking skills are improved when you’re always focused on how to make things better. Rather than get bogged down by tiring, obsolete ways of doing things, look at better options for doing the same task. If you have problems with poor sales, you can look for more innovative ways such as incorporating new technologies to boost sales, rather than relying on traditional models.
7. Remain Focused On Important Goals
Don’t be distracted by small crises at the expense of achieving your big goals. Don’t spend so much time overanalyzing small issues when they are actually under your control. For instance, if your production machine breaks down and the company is financially unprepared for such expenses of getting a new one, rather than mourning over it, you can actually sell your personal valuables to repair the machine, instead of allowing the break down to affect the chains of production, thus affecting customer base.
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8. Find A Balance Between Logic And Creativity
Finding a balance between logic and creativity is another step towards strategic thinking. In a bid to think out creative ideas to bring about innovations, be logical enough to know what will work and what won’t. They don’t get lost in thinking impractical ideas, rather be realistic when being trying to be innovative. And don’t let logic get in your way of trying out new things.
9. Learn From Your Experiences
Learn to reflect on the past. This is the best way to be strategic when thinking. Understand what worked and didn’t work in the past, before taking any decision. If you experienced bad sales in the past, use the customers’ feedback, salesmen experience and personal observations to draw up a better plan.
10. Play Mind-Building Games Often
One of the best ways to improve your brain is to task it by playing more mind-building games like chess, video games, and other mind-stimulating sports. For example, a chess game requires on-the-moment strategic thinking. This can improve your strategic thinking skills.
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