8 Ways To Be A Better Big Picture Strategic Thinker
Do you ever discover that you’ve become so focused on doing the day-to-day duties of your job, that you forget the other part of your responsibilities as a manager or supervisor? It’s comfortable and easy to attach yourself to your day-to-day tasks. After all, you know its important to do the daily work and put out fires to keep your job. Your top priority is obviously getting the work done. But, have you forgotten your role as a strategic thinker?
Strategic thinking is a highly valued leadership quality and one that can separate you from all the others if you learn to do it well. Unfortunately, it does take practice to hone these skills, but if you want to rise up in authority, responsibility and respectability in your organization, you’ll take the time to learn. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been in a leadership position for a while, or if you simply have your sights set on a leadership position, thinking about the big picture should begin now!
When you can break away from the daily grind, you can stop to consider if there’s a better way to do things. Or, how your department’s actions help achieve company goals. A strategic thinker consistently ask why and when. They gather information … solve problems objectively … innovate and plan ahead.
If you haven’t focused on big-picture thinking before now, it’s understandable. Most companies reward employees based on short-term solutions and accomplishments. These incentives are designed to keep you focused on the immediate demands of your job. But, while companies survive on that daily focus, they thrive on innovation and ideas.
Talk to your boss about your desire to expand beyond the required job skills. Ask for big-picture information that might help you better understand the role you play in organizational goals.
Here are eight steps that can help you become a better strategic thinker:
- Take time to think about problems you face at work—delays, bottlenecks, people, slow procedures, certain customers, etc.
- Select one of these problems—one problem at a time usually works best
- Study that problem (Be sure to choose a problem that you have control over, so you could potentially solve that problem.)
- Determine what information you need to help solve this problem, and do your best to get it
- Analyze and digest the information you’ve collected
- What are your options? Are there short-term solutions? Long term? Are budget, time or power limiting your choices?
- Evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of each option
- Make a choice and monitor what happens. Be ready to change your approach if the outcome doesn’t shift.
Repeating the same actions day after day will usually give you the same results. That’s great in a world where nothing changes. Gradual industry shifts can sneak up on organizations. Noticing these slight trends and calling attention to them makes organizations stronger. And practicing your strategic thinking now helps you develop this vital leadership quality.