Can you play chess?
Understanding strategic thinking is like applying chess tactics to your business or even to your job to get the best results.
Most employees who understand strategic thinking struggle with their jobs because their employers don’t want to open their minds to the best ideas, they prefer to live and operate in past glories and stale tactics.
Many people often approach a problem with a preconceived solution in mind probably because that same approach worked in similar situations in the past. You have to understand that what worked in 1975 will mostly not work in 2021. You may just keep trying the same tactic over and over again in circles and keep wondering why you are not seeing results.
Most people who are very uptight in their personal, official, or business dealings have trouble staying relevant because they have closed their minds to every other perspective. This can be triggered by their belief (socio-cultural or religious). This is a big problem because it can affect the outcome of your decisions as it will put you in a box of impossibilities if it’s not looked into.
THE STEP BY STEP PROCESS ON YOUR JOURNEY TO MASTERING STRATEGY
The first step to mastering strategy thinking is ideation
This is the process of brainstorming ideas for a business, when you have that idea, the first thing to do is to dissect it and be sure that the idea has potential. Don’t just jump into an idea because it looks and sounds beautiful. For example, If you have about three ideas, dissect each of them and then you pick up the one that has potential for your business or potentials for your growth.
The next step is strategic planning
Here we are considering both external and internal factors. In your business, the external factors can be political, economic, social-cultural, technological, environmental, and legal (PESTEL Analysis). After you have dissected these external factors properly, also analyze your Internal factors which comprise your strength, weaknesses, opportunity, and threats (SWOT Analysis).
Having all of these critically detailed will give you clarity as you also try to extract solutions for each of them. A lot of people tend to ignore this step because they assume it’s too complicated without understanding how much risk will be averted if this step is applied. Just make sure that your solutions will make you comfortable and bring in results in the long run.
The third step is operational planning
This is where your strategy transforms into action that can be implemented. Here you will state your objectives, and be very specific about each of them. They ought to be measurable, actionable, and time-bound. Possibly write them down one after the other in a book or in a diary to prevent you from forgetting. It should also be very clear to you and everyone in your team.
HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR STRATEGIC THINKING SKILLS
Most times we get carried away with a lot of things. We can get distracted by everyday issues and uncertainties, and then we will see ourselves procrastinating. Here you need to prioritize and come up with a to-do list. Not being able to pull this skill off can actually stop you from winning a million-dollar contract.
Be aware of your own biases
Take charge of your mind. In recent times I spoke to a few people and the kind of responses I mostly get gives me goosebumps, and then I begin to wonder why their various ideas seemed very vague like it’s in a dark box with no return or transfer. They love it wholeheartedly that way and will fight you verbally, or physically if you try to resist their ideas.
This goes to say that you should try and be intentional about how you process things in your mind by making sure that you are not embracing your own biased ideas and sticking to them. This creates a mindset full of possibilities.
Improve your listening skills
Do more listening than even talking, especially when you are having intelligent conversations with intelligent people. This gives you clarity and indirectly helps you with your sense of understanding.
Question important things
Asking questions is important. Personally, people always tell me that I ask too many questions, at first I thought it was a problem but over time when I began to get my answers and execute, I discovered that asking questions isn’t bad After all. It’s actually a good thing to desire to know more. You are at an advantage indirectly and over time you’ll become a pro in your niche.
Note that you can be super talented and super brilliant but if you don’t master strategic thinking, you may not go as far as you wish. Except you don’t mind becoming an astrophysics graduate who kept dreaming of going into space but never did and instead becomes a physics teacher somewhere in Benin. Do you want that?