5 Questions To Ask Yourself To Clarify Your Strategic Thinking
Are you feeling a bit confused by strategic thinking?
You know it’s essential for your career and your business, but how do you actually do it?
Think back to your childhood.
Do you remember playing connect-the-dots?
You started with what appeared to be a random collection of dots on a page, but when you drew the link between them in just the right way, an image merged.
Connect-the-dots-may be a simple pastime from your youth, but it’s also a metaphor for one of the most powerful capabilities of all successful leaders: strategic thinking.
Think about a time you faced a situation where things were unfamiliar, disorganized, even chaotic.
When you were able to connect the dots in all the right places – between people, ideas and resources – you created clarity and opportunity.
Your strategic thinking skills carried the day.
These meaningful connections that allow you to make smart moves is a beautiful thing, especially when it helps you find the perfect solution to a pressing problem or developing a creative new and better way of doing what you’re already doing.
Times are Changing
We live in inspiring, and sometimes uncertain, times.
A time where change is accelerating.
It’s a time where information, options and distractions are ever-increasing, a time when simplicity and clarity have never been more critical.
Strategic thinking is the leadership quality that helps you be more successful and effective in whatever you’re working towards.
Strategic thinking helps your business achieve its goals more rapidly.
Success comes as a result of thinking about how you can proactively accomplish your objectives instead of just reacting to whatever comes your way.
A strategic mindset also encourages you to determine the best use of resources at your disposal and how to align them with your action plan.
Five questions to ask yourself to really sharpen your strategic thinking.
What do you want?
The most important thing to work out is where you want to be.
Everything—goals, strategies, steps, should all be pointing to your desired destination.
Do you want to be CEO, or be running your own company?
What do you want to achieve this year, in five years, ten?
What are your actual goals?
What’s your vision?
Get it all down on paper and think big!
Where are You Starting From?
Do a survey of exactly where you are right now.
What skills, resources, and assets do you have?
What are your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and risks in your current job or business?
Are you satisfied with life the way it is, or do you want something more?
What connections do you have?
Map out your network and what value you provide to them, and what they offer you.
Write up your self-inventory.
What do You Have the Power to Change?
Think about what is in your control at the present moment.
What can you streamline or eliminate?
What do you need to add, enhance, or modify to reach your goals?
This can include anything from training, networking opportunities, to investment advice or strategic career planning.
What do You Need to Move Ahead?
Take another look at your self-inventory.
What skills, resources, knowledge, and connections do you need to get closer to success?
If this is difficult or overwhelming, consider finding a mentor or life coach who can help you find your way.
How Can I Reach My Goals and Still Enjoy Life?
Really going for success shouldn’t make for a joyless life, totally focused on getting ahead.
Make sure you take time to have fun and do the things that give you pleasure.
Think of what Future Successful You enjoys doing.
What makes your future worth striving for?
Write down all the fun things you will do, whether it’s staying in 5-star hotels or being able to work for only half the year.
Imagine driving your dream car.
See yourself in your future executive suite.
See what elements of your future life you can start to incorporate in the present and build on those.
We all have a strategy.
Whether it’s a way to win a simple game or to arrive at a certain location, we have strategies all the time.
It really comes down to “ifs.”
If I take highway 80, there will be less traffic.
If I take his last pawn, I’ll have a clear shot at his Queen.
Utilizing strategic thinking in your life is really the same thing.
If we do this, we will be closer to achieving that.
It’s really about knowing what you want, and planning.
Planning out how to reach your goals.
The advantage of having a strategic mindset is learning how to think rather than what to think.
Although you might not always have the right answers, strategic thinking skills can empower you to spot new opportunities, address emerging challenges, redirect your plans as necessary, and move forward towards the success you’re looking for.
Before you know it, you will be toasting your success!
Now I’d love to hear from you.
What stood out for you about what I just talked about?
How does strategic thinking help in your life?
Please share your thoughts in the comments below.
I would love to hear your stories.
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