Strategic thinking is a key component to successful leadership, and yet is something those in leadership roles tend not to make time for. A study shows that a strategic approach to leadership is about 10 times more important than other behaviors in the perception of effectiveness, and it’s twice as important as communication. In today’s blog, we’ll dive deeper into why its important organizations prioritize and encourage time for strategic thinking.
In an article in Harvard Business Review, they state: “Strategic leaders take a broad, long-range approach to problem-solving and decision-making that involves objective analysis, thinking ahead, and planning. That means being able to think in multiple time frames, identifying what they are trying to accomplish over time and what has to happen now, in six months, in a year, in three years, to get there.” At work it can be challenging to schedule in time for strategic thinking, especially when your day involves responding to immediate demands and is booked with meetings; however, doing so is imperative to being an effective leader. The good news is you don’t need to devote a massive amount of time to strategic thinking. Here are some strategies to implement more strategic thinking in your workplace…
Track how you spend your time
Consider tracking your time for 1 week to see where and how you are using your time. Seeing it laid out in front of you can help you prioritize your tasks and assignments and possibly identify places you could delegate or cut down. By utilizing your time more effectively, you may be able to free up an extra hour or two each week which you can then devote to spending on strategic planning.
Look forward and plan ahead
Since the cornerstone for strategic thinking involves long-term planning for the future, think about your work and company goals for the next 3, 6, and 9 months and beyond, and then look at what obstacles could prevent you from reaching those goals. By considering possible outcomes and issues that could arise, you’ll have a strategy in place should you or the organization run into any problems.
Schedule time to brainstorm
In an article on Forbes, they recommend working on strategic strategies in a group environment with your colleagues and during the meeting asking these 3 questions:
- What possibilities have you considered?
- If you were me, how would you approach this problem?
- Based on your experience, what do you propose as a next step?
Getting different points of view can help people see the bigger picture and help develop a more strategic approach to planning for the future. Teaching people to ask “why” and “when” type questions can go a long way in developing a strategic thinking mindset.