Weekly Business Insights from Top Ten Business Magazines
Week 320 | Leading & Managing Section | 1
Extractive summaries and key takeaways from the articles curated from TOP TEN BUSINESS MAGAZINES to promote informed business decision-making | Since September 2017 | Week 320 | October 27-November 2, 2023
10 Ways to Prove You’re a Strategic Thinker
By Brenda Steinberg and Michael D. Watkins | Harvard Business Review | October 31, 2023
Extractive Summary of the Article | Listen
Are you a strategic thinker? Do key people in your organization — such as your boss and senior leadership — think so? To get ahead in your career, it’s critically important to ensure that the people around you perceive you as leadership material. One key to achieving that is communicating in ways that demonstrate your strategic mind. You can’t just think strategically. You need to speak strategically, too. Here are some ways to do it:
- Elevate your perspective. Instead of focusing on specifics, describe the broader landscape and articulate the bigger-picture narrative. By using language such as “Reflecting on the trajectory of innovation in our industry…” you shape the context in which the tactical details can then be explored.
- Be forward-looking. Strategic thinkers see emerging challenges and opportunities. You can demonstrate that you are thinking about the future by using statements like “In light of our competitors’ plans, should we be…”By communicating a forward-looking stance, you demonstrate your capacity to help the organization develop long-term strategy.
- Anticipate potent impacts. Strategic thinkers don’t just make decisions; they assess and communicate their broader potential effects. You can showcase your critical thinking ability by highlighting possible outcomes or unintended consequences.
- Connect the dots. Show you look beyond surface events to the deeper picture of systems and interconnections and that you recognize their importance. Doing so shows you have an integrative and holistic thought process.
- Simplify the complicated. Strategic thinkers can break down complex situations in simple yet powerful terms. To distill complicated issues into their essentials, use explanations like “At its core, our strategy rests on three pillars….”In doing so, you indicate masterful comprehension of the topic.
- Use analogies and metaphors. Analogies and metaphors help to communicate strategic ideas in relatable ways. When you make comparisons like “Think of our infrastructure as the backbone, supporting every function…” you show you can translate strategic jargon into everyday language, fostering broader understanding and alignment.
- Stimulate strategic dialogue. When engaging with colleagues in strategic conversations, ask reflective questions such as “If our brand were a story, what chapter are we in?” This creates an environment where strategic thinking is collective and prompts discussion that will help you refine ideas and encourage others to adopt strategic mindset.
- Show you are informed. Your strategic insights will be more impactful when grounded in current realities. Observations such as “Given the recent shifts in digital consumption patterns…” prove you are informed about the evolving landscape, an essential strategic thinking capability.
- Practice strategic listening. Strategic thinking is best when it incorporates disparate views so it’s important to listen closely and actively to others. Comments like “Building on what you’ve said…” highlight your ability to do just that, enhancing your reputation as a strategy collaborator, enriching the discussion, and activating the group’s collective intelligence.
- Seek feedback. After strategic conversations, show you are focused on learning by asking for feedback from others. Use questions such as “How can we better align these discussions with our broader mission?” to demonstrate your commitment to growth and improvement.
2 key takeaways from the article
- Are you a strategic thinker? Do key people in your organization — such as your boss and senior leadership — think so? To get ahead in your career, it’s critically important to ensure that the people around you perceive you as leadership material. One key to achieving that is communicating in ways that demonstrate your strategic mind. You can’t just think strategically. You need to speak strategically, too.
- Some ways to do it are: elevate your perspective, be forward-looking, anticipate potent impacts, connect the dots, simplify the complicated, use analogies and metaphors, stimulate strategic dialogue, show you are informed, practice strategic listening, and seek feedback.
(Copyright lies with the publisher)
Topics: Strategy, Strategic Thinking, Personal Branding