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Strategic thinking can be summed up as an ability to anticipate future events. Consequently, it is the capability of preparing strategies and conceptualizing ideas that will be able to cope with changing environments and take into account the many challenges that are to come. A candidate who possesses strategic thinking skills will be considered a top candidate, and this quality is what makes many managers, directors, and executives successful.

What Makes a Strategic Thinker Good?

Consider a professional leader who you admire. Is their innovation, intelligence, or ability to engage audiences the reason you selected them? Perhaps you admire their ability to critique processes and procedures while also remaining open to feedback and change.

Your model leader is a strategic thinker if he or she has any of these characteristics. All strategic thinkers possess the following four qualities, and continue to work on them throughout their lives:

1. It is always their habit to seek advice from others

It is important for strategic thinkers to welcome feedback and advice from others in order to be able to prepare for the future and make continuous improvements. The team tests ideas and concepts and ensures that criticism is taken into account and incorporated where appropriate. As a result of this process, their plans and strategies are made as robust and steadfast as possible.

2. There is always something new for them to learn

The development of strategic thinking skills requires a commitment to constant learning and self-improvement. Whether it is from their own experiences, the experiences of others, books, presentations, networks, conferences, or junior colleagues, strategic thinkers do not disregard any potential source of information.

3. Organizational goals are never forgotten by them

The purpose and people of an organization will never be neglected by a strategy thinker, regardless of whether the company builds intuitive websites for clients or sells stock portfolios. This is the essence of strategic thinking and planning, and if it is not centered on these two key elements, it cannot be considered strategic at all.

4. Taking risks isn’t something they’re afraid of

An excellent strategic thinker understands that professional excellence does not always result from a one-size-fits-all approach. As a result of careful consideration, they take risks on new ideas, innovative solutions, and unique pitches, preparing for both success and failure, and are always willing to learn from their mistakes.

Learning How to Think Strategically

By now, it should be evident that strategic thinking is indispensable for advancing your professional career, but that it is also useful in your personal life as well.

Using this skill, you will be able to plan and apply reason to many challenges that you face, always striving to find the best and most efficient solution. What are the steps involved in obtaining it? No matter what your role or industry is, you can enhance your strategic thinking skills by focusing on these areas.

1. Maintain a constant state of optimization

Whatever project or piece of work you are assigned, always strive to optimize and improve your work. The essence of strategic thinking is the ability to recast strategy and refocus direction; being adaptable and ambitious at the same time. You should ensure that everything you work on, from a social media report to a team presentation to a market research paper, generates maximum value.

2. Identify counterarguments

It is very rare for strategic thinkers to believe that their own ideas, and their own ideas alone, are always correct. It is important to develop an understanding and appreciation of opposing ideas, opinions, arguments, or positions in order to develop your strategic thinking skills. It will become easier for you to see projects and ideas holistically as you explore alternative arguments.

3. Take a proactive approach

Strategic thinking is all about being prepared for the future, taking the initiative and doing things before you are asked to do so, or responding reactively. Has an extra copy of a board report been obtained in anticipation of those who have not responded? Have you backed up all the key files of the department onto an additional source in case of a system crash? If so, you have checked the proactive box, and you should continue in this direction.

4. Stay up-to-date with the latest news and trends

Get involved in networks, read widely, engage with colleagues from different teams in your organization, and seek out hints about upcoming trends and concepts wherever you can. Learn about how your role functions not only in the context of your workplace but also in businesses across the world. Make use of mentors and experts who are able to share their own experiences and tips for staying on top of the most important and current ideas.


An individual with strategic thinking skills is able to imagine new solutions to old problems and to constantly reinvent their point of view in a way that is unique and beneficial to their organization. The ability to think strategically is a key skill required to climb the corporate ladder, so get started developing these skills today.

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