How often have you heard this, ‘think bigger picture and be more strategic?’
Strategic thinking enables a business owner to determine how to optimize people, networks and resources most effectively to advance the company toward its objectives. Strategic thinking is understanding the big picture and it’s a mind set.
“Making the invisible, visible.” – Lisa Patrick
What is strategy?
Strategy originates from a military term, coming from the Greek words “stratos” (army or resources) and “ago” (leading). Quite literally to lead an army.
Now I am not in the business of mobilizing armed forces, but I do challenge my clients to make the invisible visible and help them set the direction moving forward.
If you’ve ever received feedback that you “need to be more strategic,” you know how frustrating it can feel because the feedback rarely comes with any concrete guidance on what to do about it.
Strategic thinking isn’t just an Edge Learning* skill required for senior executives. Strategic thinking is a mind-set that is required at any level of any organization or profession.
Strategic thinking is the way top professionals approach every aspect of their job. In sales, strategic thinkers are the ones that recognize the difference between relationships sales and transactional sales and the value of each long term.
Strategic thinking requires you to start by asking great questions. You need to become more curious. Look at information from different points of view and perspectives. Questions are opportunities to uncover the adjacent possibilities when you are looking and asking from different approaches. Questions uncover the different possibilities for potential outcomes.
Patricia Fripp, Hall of Fame professional speaker, speech coach and good friend gave me the best advice I have ever been given early in my professional career.
Patricia told me, ‘Specificity builds credibility Lisa!.’
When she first told me that, I had no idea that these three words would be some of the most impactful words I’d ever hear. I couldn’t have imagined that at the time that I would use and apply this logic to my internal process for generating great questions and creating long term relationships. This Frippicism was instrumental in helping me foster a strategic mind-set. I’ve applied this Frippicism to each and every day and to every situation.
Therefore, strategic thinkers also know how to speak the language. They prioritize and sequence their thoughts. They are specific and intentional with their words. They structure their verbal and written communication in a way that helps their audience focus on their core message and the action required to help them execute on their goals.
Strategic thinkers always invite challenge. Today’s business landscape has changed, fundamentally… tomorrow’s environment will be different, but none the less–rich in possibilities for those who are prepared. Strategic thinking is the new normal.
I can rely on and trust Lisa to help me see beyond the obvious because she makes me uncomfortable by challenging me and forcing me to look at ways to pivot and adapt. – Dr. Nathan Unruh
The be effective and strategic, you must challenge your understanding of the competitive landscape, visualize where the business needs to go, and provide leadership into the future. Be prepared for the surge of emotions and unsettling feelings that will come with challenging your assumptions about the business and understanding why you do what you do. This is the path you must take in your quest to find unique opportunities that create value and architect your future as you look at the bigger picture with strategy and purpose.
Now is the time to learn how to navigate these uncharted waters and find the most effective unemotional ways to creating your strategic mind-set and start to connect the dots.