3 Strategic Thinking Tips To Get You Noticed

10 Comments By Deb | Posted September 25, 2013
 
 
StrategyDon’t confuse being busy with being strategic.

Do you deliver results?

Of course you do.

Are you known for delivering results that drive business success?

You are, if you’re a strategic thinker.
 

What do strategic thinkers do?

  • You consider opportunities and problems from a broad perspective.  Not only What. But So What. And Now What.
  • You understand the potential impact of your actions before you take action.
  • You solve today’s problem so it doesn’t reoccur tomorrow.
  • You ask yourself…

Am I Doing Work That Matters To My CEO?

Imagine you stepped into the elevator at the same time as your CEO and she asked, ‘What are you working on today?’. What would you say? Would you be pleased to tell her or embarrassed? Do you know what her top priorities are? It doesn’t matter what position you hold, your work should support the organization’s most important priorities.

Am I Connected To People Across My Organization?

No matter where you sit in an organization, you have access to a limited amount of information. Building relationships with people in other departments provides a broader view of the business. Taking time to genuinely connect with influential people at all levels of your organization provides a broad perspective for making smart decisions. Plus, these relationships increase your influence and make it easier for you to drive organizational change.

Do My Solutions Stick?

In the hurry to get things done, it’s tempting to quickly solve the problems that arise every day. Sometimes those problems are actually symptoms of a larger, systems issue. Instead of hiring the fourth customer service rep this month, dig deeper. What’s the real reason so many people are leaving? Perhaps career path limitations, bad management, poor training or inadequate pay. Only when you understand the real issue will you be able to create a permanent solution.

3 Easy Actions To Boost Your Strategic Thinking 

1. Ask your manager if you’re advancing his or her goals.

2. Schedule coffee or lunch with someone in a different department.

3. Block one hour on your calendar every week to reflect on challenging problems and projects.

It’s your turn now. What do you do to think strategically? Leave a reply in the comments below.

About the Author

By Deb Graham: Entrepreneur, organizational behavior enthusiast, world traveler and avid learner, Deb applies her curiosity and passion for personal growth to the work environment. She enjoys helping women navigate the business world, add value to their workplace and manage their careers.

Comments

  • Phil says,

    I wholeheartedly agree, Deb. Your opening question actually gave me a start. The last thing I associate with strategic thinking (and strategic activity) is being busy. Not that there isn’t a lot of work to do from a strategic perspective. But when I think of thinking and acting strategically, what comes automatically to mind for me is “less is more.” Maybe it’s as simple for me as quality vs. quantity. What we need is better thinking that leads to more focused action, not ever more action without much thinking behind it. Thanks for making me think!

  • Gen says,

    Great questions and tips! It’s easy to get caught up in activity, and this post provides helpful advice. I have found broadening my perspective, which you mention in article, is one of the most valuable actions I can do. The comment above on “less is more” is another good tip for high quality, strategic thinking. This is one I need to practice!

  • Lil says,

    Deb-This article really resonated with me! With year-end approaching, things are crazier than ever. But, with that being said, when I break down the actual tasks being completed on a daily basis – many appear much more tactical than strategic. It made me take a step back and re-evaluate the things I spend the most time on. I have also recently been focusing on making contacts outside of the group I support in an effort to effectively align goals across the business units. I am amazed at how easily different group goals align when we are all privy to the strategic vision of our leaders. With new leadership here, there comes a renewed look at strategy and the basic understanding of same across the organization. Thanks for all of the continued support in my becoming a more strategic partner for the business!

  • Mendy says,

    Love this article. Useful to situations I find myself in everyday. Love how you get to the point and give me actionable items that can be easily accomplished.

  • Christina says,

    This certainly hits home. Sometimes we get lost in the day to day, putting out fires. This helps remind me to step back and take time to reshuffle and re-prioritize some of the things I do. I will start asking myself….how does this impact the larger picture in all things I do!

  • Deb says,ACT Strategic

    I, too, love Phil’s ‘less is more’ comment. It’s become almost a badge of honor to ‘be busy’. And yet, the faster we go, the quicker we arrive someplace we don’t want to be.

  • Deb says,ACT Strategic

    Lil, Goal alignment is huge. Probably one of the most valuable contributions you make to the organization. When I think about strategy and organizational goal alignment, I picture a huge rowboat and everyone has an oar. The speed with which the organization can move (to the desired island) is hugely impacted by whether we all have the same end goal in mind.

    And thank you for the feedback. So glad the SHR Bootcamp is helping you achieve your career goals.

  • Ann says,

    Thanks for your article Deb! Great advice!

  • Deb says,ACT Strategic

    Thanks Ann! Glad you enjoyed it.

  • Ntokozo Khumalo says,

    Well articulated. Strategy is holistic -your suggestions of the ways to boost this competency is thus relevant. I am personally reflecting on point number 3: Block one hour in my calendar every week to reflect on challenging problems and projects. Definitely going to be pulling my socks up in this regard. Thanks for the insight.

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