Strategic thinking is the ability to think ahead, understand context and consequences, connect seemingly disparate pieces of information, envision multiple paths and outcomes and take continuous, iterative steps toward a desired goal. Sound like fun? No biggie right? At THECEOBOARD meeting last week (my monthly peer group for CEOs here in the Bay Area), an energetic discussion erupted on this topic. In particular, the group was divided about whether strategic thinking can be taught.
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Homework: 1. Honestly assess your strategic thinking and that of your team by answering these five questions. 2. Make time to think bigger. Ask your team to ponder big picture "What if" and "What's the impact of that" questions. This will show your team (and yourself) what strategic thinking looks like by doing it out loud. 3. Add contextual industry information to staff meetings and invite the team to talk about what this information means to your business and your customers. 4. Encourage ordered thinking by brainstorming possible solutions to a problem and then inviting the team to prioritize the list. Have them explain why they chose that order. 5. Get everyone in the habit of asking "when" and "why".
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