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Characteristics of Strategic Thinking

Natural strategic thinkers tend to be big-picture oriented and direction-setters.
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Natural strategic thinkers tend to be big picture oriented and direction setters. These skills come naturally to some. And even if you don’t already have these skills, they can be learned. What are some of the characteristics of strategic thinking? It’s conceptual, systems-oriented, directed toward the future, and opportunistic in nature. At its core, strategic thinking involves planning for the future. This means preparing strategies and conjuring ideas that will both cope with changing environments and consider the various challenges that lie ahead. This is strategic thinking in its forecasting or predictive form. But there is another form of strategic thinking. A more powerful form of strategic thinking involves designing the desired future and planning to make it happen.
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In other words, instead of just planning for the future, you aim to create the future. Consider this example. A group of six outdoor education centers serve the education system’s inner-city schools in a major UK city. They were concerned that with budget cuts, they were vulnerable to withdrawal of funds and to closure. In fact, three other centers had already been closed in the previous three years. A senior education officer persuaded them that, although they had always been competitors, the centers will be stronger if they joined forces, shared resources, and supported one another. And this was a new strategy. One way to do this was to create a shared vision of how successful they could be.
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Guided through the visioning process, they develop the skills to think strategically about many of the systems, procedures, and operating plans.

Natural strategic thinkers tend to be big-picture oriented and direction-setters. These skills come naturally to some. And even if you don’t already have these skills, they can be learned. With this objective in mind, this step covers some of the main characteristics of strategic thinking.

Discussion:

What are some of the situations where you could be more strategic with your thinking? How might you approach this?

Please take some time to reflect and share insights with your peers.

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