Four Ways to Improve Your Strategic Thinking Skills Today



4 ways to improve your strategic skills (arcade joystick game videogame style) - for MY OWN ARTICLE (all caps) (LR)

Strategic thinking is often considered essential to an organization's successful performance. Some have even advocated for companies to develop the strategic thinking skills of their executives and other staff as a core competency. How can strategic thinking skills be developed? But first, here's a definition.

“Strategic thinking is a distinctive management activity whose purpose is to discover novel, imaginative strategies which can rewrite the rules of the competitive game; and to envision potential futures significantly different from the present. Furthermore, strategic thinking is specified as being conceptual, systems-oriented, directional (linking the future with the past), and opportunistic.”
— Ellen F. Goldman


In other words, strategic thinking is a process used to broaden an individual's perspective to achieve successful outcomes such as competitive advantage. And it can happen at every level of the organization; it's not just for executives.

Here are four specific things you can do to improve your strategic thinking skills.

1. Schedule Time for Strategic Thinking

You are investing in your success as well as that of the organization. Find the time to focus on strategic thinking. A tip is to place a recurring event on your calendar to reserve time for strategic thinking activities.

2. Monitor the Big Picture Including Trends

The default focus at most organizations is on what’s directly ahead. However, "peripheral vision"—including keeping sight of the big picture and industry trends—is essential for long-term success. Some tips follow. Keep abreast of industry organizations and publications. Build external networks to help you best scan the competitive landscape. Determine the unique perspective that your role provides, and define its favorable impact on the organization’s vision, mission, and/or strategic objectives.

3. Ask Questions to Uncover Patterns

Further to your mindfulness of the big picture and understanding of changes in the industry, you can put strategic thinking to work by asking yourself and others questions. A few examples follow. "What if _____?" questions are frequently effective in helping one "see around the corner." And variations such as "If _____, then _____?" often yield insights as well.


4. Embrace Uncertainty and Conflict

Strategic thinking involves envisioning the future and potential proactive ways the organization can change to remain competitive and successful. You should accept that the future is uncertain, and challenging assumptions by asking questions and other tactics may make some people uncomfortable. Remaining mindful of those aspects will help you stay the course in regularly practicing strategic thinking and securing the benefits summarized in this article.

Conclusion

By sharpening your strategic thinking skills, you benefit both yourself and your organization. It helps you make a greater contribution to the business—which may also support your advancement—and it helps the company enjoy greater competitive advantage and long-term success. So, start work on your strategic thinking skills today!

Bibliography

Atsmon, Yuval (2017, May 2). How to Unleash Your Strategic Thinking. Digital article. McKinsey & Company.

Bonn, Ingrid (2005, June). Improving Strategic Thinking: A Multilevel Approach.
Leadership & Organization Development Journal, 26 (5). DOI: 10.1108/01437730510607844.

Cowan, N. (2001, February). The Magical Number 4 in Short-Term Memory: A Reconsideration of Mental Storage Capacity.
Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 24 (1): 87-119.

Dixit, Avinash K. and Nelebuff, Barry J. (1993).
Thinking Strategically: The Competitive Edge in Business, Politics, and Everyday Life. New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Company.

Goldman, Ellen F. (2007, Summer). Strategic Thinking at the Top.
MIT Sloan Management Review, 48 (4): 75-81.

Graffius, Scott M. (2016).
Thinking Strategically and Acting Tactically. Winnetka, CA: Exceptional PPM and PMO Solutions.

Reynolds, K. (2013). Strategic Thinking for Today's Project Managers. Paper presented at PMI Global Congress 2013—North America, New Orleans, LA. Newtown Square, PA: Project Management Institute.

Syrett, Michael and Devine, Marion (2012).
Managing Uncertainty: Strategies for Surviving and Thriving in Turbulent Times. London, United Kingdom: Profile Books.

About the Author

Scott M. Graffius is an agile project management consultant, practitioner, award-winning author, and keynote speaker. Content from his books, speaking engagements, and more has been used by businesses, governments, and universities, including Gartner, Cisco, RSA, Ford, Qantas, Atlassian, Bayer, the United States Department of Energy, the New Zealand Ministry of Education, Tufts University, Texas A&M, and others. Thinkers360 named Scott a Top 20 Global Thought Leader and Influencer. His full-length bio is available at: https://bit.ly/bio-smg.


★★★★★


Connect with Scott on
Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.




custom - back to main page of blog


Scott M. Graffius Speaking on Tech Team Leadership at IT | Pro Dev Connections 2020 Conference



IT PRO DEVS - twitter format (LR)

Scott M. Graffius will speak on team leadership at the IT Pro | Dev Connections 2020 Conference. Normally conducted in-person in Athens, Greece, it will be a virtual event this year.

  • Dates: December 12-13, 2020
  • Location: Virtual (online from Athens, Greece)
  • For details and to register for the conference, visit itprodevconnections.gr

Scott's session will be on Saturday, December 12th at 5:30-6:15 p.m. local (Athens, Greece) Eastern European Standard Time (7:30-8:15 a.m. Pacific Standard Time).

Attendees of this session may be eligible to receive continuing education unit (CEU) credit, equivalent to 0.75 hour. For reporting with the Project Management Institute (PMI), it’s 0.75 professional development unit (PDU), under the Leadership category. For reporting with the Scrum Alliance, it’s 0.75 Scrum educational unit (SEU), under either the Learning category or the Events category. For reporting with other organizations, refer to their respective instructions.

About Scott M. Graffius

Scott M. Graffius, PMP, CSP-SM, CSP-PO, CSM, CSPO, ITIL, LSSGB is an agile project management consultant, practitioner, award-winning author, and keynote speaker. Content from his books, speaking engagements, and more has been used by businesses, governments, and universities, including: Gartner, Oracle, Cisco, Ford, Qantas, Atlassian, Bayer, the National Academy of Sciences, the United States Department of Energy, the New Zealand Ministry of Education, Tufts University, Texas A&M, and others. Thinkers360 named Scott a Top 20 Global Thought Leader and Influencer on Agile. His full-length bio is available at:
https://bit.ly/bio-smg.



About IT Pro | Dev Connections 2020 Conference

IT Pro | Dev Connections 2020 is a tech conference serving the Greek technical communities — inclusive of
autoexec.gr, azureheads.gr, sqlschool.gr, *ngThess, VMUG Greece, Ministry Of Testing, MS Learn, Thessaloniki.NETThessaloniki Software Testing and QA, Cloud Experts, and Hotelier ITPRO — and others around the world. Normally conducted in-person in Athens, Greece, it will be held as a virtual event on December 12-13, 2020. To learn more and register for the conference, visit itprodevconnections.gr.


★★★★★


Connect with Scott on
Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.




custom - back to main page of blog


Scott M. Graffius Speaking at DevConf.CZ 2021



devconf-cz vG9 twitter (LR2)

Scott M. Graffius will present "But First, the Team!" at DevConf.CZ 2021. Now in its 13th year, the Red Hat sponsored tech conference will bring together developers, DevOps engineers, and other contributors to open source technologies. Normally conducted in-person in the Czech Republic, DevConf.CZ will be a virtual, three-day event in 2021. It will run from February 18-20. For more information and to register for the conference, visit
https://www.devconf.info/cz/.

Attendees of Scott's session may be eligible to receive continuing education unit (CEU) credit, equivalent to 0.75 hour. For reporting with the Project Management Institute (PMI), it’s 0.75 professional development unit (PDU), under the Leadership category. For reporting with the Scrum Alliance, it’s 0.75 Scrum educational unit (SEU), under either the Learning category or the Events category. For reporting with other organizations, refer to their respective instructions.

About Scott M. Graffius

Scott M. Graffius, PMP, CSP-SM, CSP-PO, CSM, CSPO, ITIL, LSSGB has generated hundreds of millions of dollars of business value in aggregate for the organizations he has served. He is an agile project management practitioner, consultant, award-winning author, and international speaker. His expertise spans project, program, portfolio, and PMO leadership inclusive of agile, traditional, and hybrid approaches. Content from Scott's books, speaking engagements, and more have been featured and used by businesses, governments, and universities including Gartner, Microsoft, Oracle, Cisco, Ford, Qantas, Atlassian, Bayer, the National Academy of Sciences, the United States Department of Energy, the United States Army, the New Zealand Ministry of Education, Tufts University, James Madison University, Santa Clara University, Brigham Young University, Texas A&M University, Virginia Tech, and others. Thinkers360 named Scott a global top thought leader and influencer in three domains: Agile, Digital Transformation, and GovTech. His full-length bio is available at
https://www.scottgraffius.com/bio.html.



About DevConf.CZ 2021

DevConf.CZ 2021 is the 13th annual, free, Red Hat sponsored conference for developers, admins, DevOps engineers, testers, and other contributors to open source technologies. The conference includes topics on Linux, middleware, virtualization, storage, cloud, mobile, tech leadership, and more. Usually conducted in-person in the Czech Republic, DevConf.CZ 2021 will be a virtual event this year, running from February 18-20. To learn more, visit https://www.devconf.info/cz/.


★★★★★


Connect with Scott on
Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.




custom - back to main page of blog


Scott M. Graffius Speaking at Microsoft 365 Applications Conference



coimbatore-lr-for-blog

Scott M. Graffius will present "Want Great IT? It Takes a Great Team!" at M365 Saturday Coimbatore. The tech conference will bring together IT professionals involved or interested in Microsoft Collaboration and Cloud technologies. It will be conducted as a virtual event on Saturday, December 19, 2020. For more information and to register for the conference, visit
spsevents.org/event/m365coimbatore2020.

Attendees of Scott's session may be eligible to receive continuing education unit (CEU) credit, equivalent to 0.75 hour. For reporting with the Project Management Institute (PMI), it’s 0.75 professional development unit (PDU), under the Leadership category. For reporting with the Scrum Alliance, it’s 0.75 Scrum educational unit (SEU), under either the Learning category or the Events category. For reporting with other organizations, refer to their respective instructions.

About Scott M. Graffius

Scott M. Graffius, PMP, CSP-SM, CSP-PO, CSM, CSPO, ITIL, LSSGB is an agile project management consultant, practitioner, award-winning author, and keynote speaker. Content from his books, speaking engagements, and more has been used by businesses, governments, and universities, including: Gartner, Oracle Cisco, Ford, Qantas, Atlassian, Bayer, the National Academy of Sciences, the United States Department of Energy, the New Zealand Ministry of Education, Tufts University, Texas A&M, and others. Thinkers360 named Scott a Top 20 Global Thought Leader and Influencer on Agile. His full-length bio is available at
https://www.scottgraffius.com/bio.html.



About M365 Saturday Coimbatore

M365 Saturday Coimbatore will bring together Information Technology professionals to share best practices, lessons learned, and more related to Microsoft Collaboration and Cloud technologies. It will be held as a virtual event on Saturday, December 19, 2020. To learn more, visit
spsevents.org/event/m365coimbatore2020.


★★★★★


Connect with Scott on
Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.




custom - back to main page of blog