Blog / Strategic Thinking

Strategic thinking: what it is, why it matters, and how to improve

We live in times of big data and artificial intelligence. But still, we can’t replace soft skills with any technology. Dealing with life or business objectives is better with strategic thinking skills.

What’s strategic thinking?

Strategic thinking is one of the most valuable soft skills required for business management and leadership staff. It’s also good if you are a strategic thinker in daily life. But what does it mean?

You can find many academic definitions of visionary thinking in business literature and Internet resources. To make it easier, strategic thinking is a mental process you apply to achieve your objective.

When we speak about this thinking approach in the context of business, it involves generating ideas and efficient plans for the future following an organization’s objectives.

How to think strategically at work and in daily life?

An excellent strategic thinker requires exceptional skills that let you set up long-term goals and define the ways for accomplishing them. You are a visionary thinker already if you possess the following features:

  • You have analytical and creative thinking skills.
  • You analyze current and past events critically.
  • You aren’t afraid of making responsible decisions.
  • You prioritize things effectively.
  • You make predictions based on logical arguments.
  • You aren’t afraid of risks.

Strategic thinking is a gradual process that involves three crucial steps to come up with a far-reaching plan. You can follow these three steps to think strategically:

Step 1: Brainstorm ideas

Every extensive planning starts with generating ideas. Analyze the problem and brainstorm as many ideas as you can and write them down.

Step 2: Develop strategies

Once you have generated the ideas, the next step is to prioritize them. Choose the one that is more logical and reasonable.

Step 3: Plan operations

To follow your strategy, you need to define steps to turn your long-term plan into reality. Develop each operation in detail.

Why does strategic thinking matter?

Future-oriented outlook is crucial both for life and professional growth. Developing strategic thinking skills, you learn to make decisions that lead your life or organization to the future.

Employers in any sphere highly appreciate strategic thinking skills. Showing strong abilities to set goals and building a well-worked strategy tell your bosses that you can be decisive, responsible, and resistant to outside circumstances. Strategic thinking helps you maximize your efficiency and strengths, think logically, and make rational decisions that line up with your company’s objectives.

6 Killer tips to improve strategic thinking skills

1. Play games that require strategies

Learning through games is an excellent way of cultivating good strategists for business and everyday life. Whether you play strategy games with your colleagues as part of team building activities or with your family at home, you will make your pastime very productive.

Board games like monopoly, UNO, or chess create an interactive understanding of strategy-making, which allows you to teach your brain predictions and evaluation of possible risks.

Strategy games are exceptionally efficient for enhancing management skills in companies. By practicing what-if techniques, well-developed games help managers and executives practice their strategic-thinking abilities. They can simulate various scenarios, analyze and weigh all risks, pros, and cons, and reflect on their actions.

Online brain games are a modern and efficient approach to developing logic in children and adults.

2. Discuss your ideas with other people

The ability to challenge your ideas by others’ opinions is a must have soft skill required for an excellent strategic thinker. Discussing your ideas with others allow you to look at them from different perspectives and get an unbiased evaluation. It’s a logical and very actionable technique for effective decision-making.

A good strategic thinker is not afraid of making decisions, but what makes a good strategic thinker a successful leader is listening and accepting other people’s ideas, too. This rule can be applied in all life sectors, be it daily life or business relationships.

3. Never stop learning

The more you know, the more flexible in decisions you are. Try to learn something new every day; it broadens your horizons when it comes to evaluating risks, making a strategic plan for life or business.

As far as your daily routine is concerned, for example, you can change your usual route to work and explore a new possibility. Next time, going to work you’ll be able to choose the shortest one if you are late. We can provide even more examples to prove the idea, but it’s obvious that knowledge makes you think logically as your decisions are based on facts.

If you are a manager or executive, you may find it useful to read books on strategic thinking where successful business leaders share their experience. Reading them will give you food for thought, but you need to understand that every successful leader has its own route to success, and it’s not enough to just copy someone’s behavior.

4. Think twice

Reasoning is a good skill required for critical thinking. Once you set up a plan or identify the methods of achieving your objective, think twice before you take action. As the old proverb says, "Measure thrice and cut once."

Practice asking "What if" questions to consider all possible algorithms and scenarios, evaluate risks, and make predictions about potential outcomes. Take time to think about the problem to build the best-suited strategy.

5. Think of a plan B to be prepared for everything

Life is unpredictable, and no one can guarantee that your strategy will be the best. To be well-prepared for all possible outcomes, you should always have plan B to decrease risks.

Successful strategist would think through negative scenarios that might take place and create a plan how to behave if they actually come true.

6. Challenge your brain with math and logic problems

Logic and rational arguments are fundamental components of mathematics. Solving logic puzzles and math problems sharpens your brain. Every time you build algorithms to find the best solution you improve your logical and strategic thinking skills.

Understanding the value of daily brain training, we created LogicLike as an online course with 2500 logic questions and brain teasers just in one place. It’s easy-to-use and will attract both adults and their kids. Spending at least 20-30 minutes a day, solving Logiclike puzzles, you will strengthen the logical, critical, and analytical skills necessary for a capable strategic thinker.

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Key takeaways

  • We use strategic thinking to achieve our goals in the most beneficial way.
  • To think strategically, you need to be able to analyze and prioritize things, make predictions, and not to be afraid of making decisions.
  • To improve strategic thinking, practice playing strategy games and solving math problems.
  • Learn every day, think twice before making a decision, and have a plan B.