Strategic thinking can seem intimidating or even overwhelming. With deliberate investment in skill building, you can become a proficient strategist. Just as one can learn to be a great leader, you can learn how to be a great strategist.
In a recent post, I pointed out some quick activities to prep your mind: Ask lots of questions and play some games. By gathering information and competing to win, you’ve already begun to tap two fundamental ingredients necessary for constructing a strategy. A strategy is an overall approach. It provides the guidance for your tactics a.k.a. competitive moves. With a little proverbial fire and some information, you can begin to craft strong overall plans. Now, let’s take things to the next level…
1) Find a mentor – If you are looking to become better at strategic planning, start letting colleagues know you’d like to develop this skill. By communicating with others, a mentor may emerge who is willing to help provide some insight and/or help introduce you to situations ripe for planning. If you can’t find a mentor, try to identify a role model. Who do you consider a great strategist? Observing behavior, interactions, and outcomes can prove to be valuable too.
2) Self-directed learning – An important component in the process of gaining a skill is education. Make a concerted effort to read articles and books. Collaborate with others. Track down knowledge anywhere you can.
3) Practice – Finding opportunities to put all your knowledge and insight to use is the ultimate goal! Though meaningful situations may not be immediately available, pay attention to what’s going on in the world. Follow politics, listen to the news, or observe businesses in your community. What’s going on? What’s working? What’s not? Why? Most importantly: What would be an improved approach? How/where would you focus resources? Push yourself to work through these questions every chance you can.
Give these tips a whirl, and let me know how they work for you.
It’s your move. Make it a great one!