Strategic Thinking: A Problem-Solving, Decision-Making Skill

Odds are, you’ve heard the term “strategic thinking” thrown around before, especially if you’re in the business world.

You may have wondered how you can change your thought process to make it more strategic.

strategic thinking

What is Strategic Thinking?

The Center for Applied Research gives the following definition of strategic thinking: “Strategic thinking focuses on finding and developing unique opportunities to create value by enabling a provocative and creative dialogue among people who can affect a company’s direction”.

In other words, you can’t really think strategically without considering others — without them, there would be no need to strategize; there would just be you and your opinion, your way of seeing the world, which is why it is considered an interpersonal skill.

Strategic thinking helps you involve other people and their ideas in your thought process to make that process more critical, diverse, and effective.

What are Examples of Strategic Thinking in Real Life?

Strategic thinking is an interpersonal skill that can benefit you in any of your life’s roles — from your workplace to your family to the various clubs and organizations of which you are a part. The following are a few examples of strategic thinking:

– You know you will have to make a decision about whether your firm should begin producing a new product soon. You have been dead-set against the idea from the first board meeting. Knowing your bias, you make a pointed effort to meet with those who are in favor of the idea and hear their reasons.

Your young child has been having behavioral problems. You make an effort to ask various individuals to give feedback on the situation — from other family members and teachers involved in the child’s upbringing to spiritual leaders and counselors.

– You make an effort, on a daily basis, to surround yourself with people, ideas, and readings that are different and diverse so that you can be better informed when you are called upon to make a decision or can think of new and innovative ways of doing things that will involve others.


How Can I Develop My Strategic Thinking Skills?

To think strategically, you must be able to see things from other peoples’ points of view.

The best strategic thinkers are not just those who seek different opinions when they are faced with a decision or a problem, but they are the ones who are constantly immersing themselves in other peoples’ thoughts and opinions. These individuals are more likely to see new and unique ideas come “out of nowhere,” as the saying goes. However, those thoughts and ideas will not be coming “out of nowhere,” they’ll be coming out of the exposure the brain has had to so many diverse thoughts and ideas in the past.

For this reason, to develop your strategic thinking skills, you need to spend time engaged in genuine conversation with others. Ask others to explain their thought processes. According to Forbes, part of this process is surrounding yourself with people who think differently than you do.

After much practice and exposure to different thoughts and ideas, you will be able to improve your strategic thinking and be a better asset to your company, family, or even yourself.



Useful Resources:

Strategic Thinking – Wikipedia
The Difference between Strategists and Strategic Planners

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2 Responses to “Strategic Thinking: A Problem-Solving, Decision-Making Skill”

  1. Will (On vacation) says:

    Like Tracey, I plot and plot and plan and more or less get through life happy and unscathed. I am starting to realize though that unless I surround myself with positive thinkers and fellow ‘planners’ I will always be held back…

  2. Hmmm….I have always considered myself a strategic thinker. I’m always plotting the next step and if something falls through I have a plan B, C and usually a D! What I have never considered is surrounding myself with those who think differently. Unless differently is the direction I was heading! We are just finishing a 12 month round the world trip and it would never have happened if we didn’t have a strategic plan in place. Thanks for giving me something extra to think about – as I secretly plan the next trip in 2 years time!!

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