Habits of Strategic Thinkers

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  • 0:02 The Importance of…
  • 0:31 Habits of Strategic Thinkers
  • 5:19 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Tara Schofield

Tara has a PhD in Marketing & Management

Developing the habits of a strategic thinker can change mediocre plans into exceptional ones. This lesson provides helpful suggestions for becoming a strategic thinker.

The Importance of Strategic Thinking

Have you ever wondered what sets successful business people apart from average business people? Strategic thinking! Strategic thinking is the process of analyzing information and using skills to make effective decisions. By implementing certain strategies, managers and business owners can increase the chance of success in their business. In order to become a strategic thinker, you must develop the habits of a strategic thinker.

Habits of Strategic Thinkers

So, what are these habits?

Well, one is to see the forest for the trees. There comes from an old saying and it means that someone who can't see the forest for the trees is someone who gets so bogged down in the day-to-day running of the business that they aren't seeing the big picture or anticipating what might be coming. A strategic thinker is constantly scanning the horizon for problems or opportunities. A strategic thinker always has an eye on the future.

Let's imagine you own a specialty toy store that offers fun, unique toys not readily available at other shops in the area. You've noticed your core business has been shrinking year after year, and you realize you need to make changes for the future. As part of your habit, you spend some time during your team meeting discussing ideas and sharing information. This week, you are asking your team to think about what changes they would recommend to create a better future for the store. You ask them take a step back and see the big picture.

Another important habit is to value relationships and trust. A strategic thinker places a lot of value on being able to establish relationships with employees and customers. Creating trust between employees means you have people around who you can count on to do the right thing. Establishing trust and relationships with your customers creates customer loyalty and more business opportunities.

Then, you should create a learning organization. A strategic thinker needs an environment where people are constantly learning and embracing change, and are not afraid of taking risks. A strategic thinker will promote an environment where people celebrate successes and failures. Sometimes it is our failures that create some of the best growth opportunities for our business. Always challenge how things are done to find better ways to run your business.

Imagine one of your toy store employees suggests you have a family night at the store where families buy games or toys, play together in the store, and the store will provide refreshments and drinks. You immediately think, 'We have never done that, and I don't know if it will work.' But you want to be more strategic in your thinking and spend time with your team discussing the idea. Before the meeting is over, you have a plan that everyone is excited about.

Next, you should reward creative thinking. A strategic thinker encourages innovation and challenges the status quo. Just because we do something one way today doesn't mean it is the right thing to do. Rewarding innovation doesn't mean offering money to employees with good ideas, but it is about supporting and encouraging employees to question everything and to constantly search for ways to improve their work and the company's processes.

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