As you worked your way up the ranks of the corporate world, have you ever been told that you need to develop the skill of strategic thinking? Many of my coaching clients have been told that by their boss. The big question was always, “What does that mean and how do I do it?
For people moving up the corporate ladder, it is often helpful to look at a comparison of Strategic Thinking and Tactical Thinking. This helps them to see where they are and where they may want to go to be more “strategic” in their thinking.
Strategic Thinking Tactical Thinking
Big Picture Little Picture or details
Broad Focus Immediate Focus
Goal Orientated Task Oriented
Long Term Short Term
How to get there What to do
With examples and discussion of these contrasts, people began to see the difference and what they could do in their work to become more strategic in their thinking and “doing”.
What about using strategic thinking in your life?
It’s actually pretty simple to do if you step back and look at it. When faced with a challenge or opportunity, look at the “Big Picture” of strategic thinking and ask, “What Really Matters in this situation?” Then go deeper, “What’s important?” “What do I really want?” It’s helpful to go deeper, “peel the onion”, and keep asking the questions to the answers that first come out because often the true reason why you want to do something is not the reason that first pops up. Understanding your true motivation and what really matters to you is what keeps you focused and moving forward to achieve what you want.
So the next time you are challenged or struggling with something, ask yourself, “What really matters in this situation?” Then write it down somewhere you can easily see it. When you start to worry, get side tracked or lost in the details, look at the note to remind you of what really matters to you about the situation. Keep focused on the Big Picture and you’ll be amazed how things begin to fall in place!