Early in my leadership career, I was so focused on solving problems that I often ignored or didn’t even consider the ramifications of the solution on a wider scale.
One thing that separates leaders from followers is the ability to think strategically on a larger scale rather than focus on the immediate problem.
In an organization setting, we need to consider the impact of a decision or solution on a wider group of people.
A lot of times, that ability doesn’t manifest itself until we’ve experienced some impacts of our decisions first hand.
As a new manager, I remember talking to my staff about a situation we had been dealing with for months. I made the decision to handle the problem a certain way that benefited our office and sent an email informing our cients in other departments about the decision.
Almost immediately, I started receiving phone calls about how onerus the process was for our clients.
I had failed to take their feedback into consideration.
So…I called a meeting with my peers in other departments and we hammered out a solution that worked for everybody.
If you’re in the lower ranks of your organization and you want to climb the ladder, a good start might be to pray to become a better strategic thinker (I did, and it’s working).
If that’s not your bag, another good way is to flex your strategic thinking muscles.
Next time you’re in a meeting being held to decide a direction for your branch or company, consider the options being presented.
Think about how each one affects ALL important stakeholders…especially the ones that hold the most power and cause the biggest problem for your organization (not necessarily you personally).
If you have an idea, but you’re nervous coming out with a solution in the meeting…ask a question, “How will this solution impact dept x?”
You may get some strange looks and you may be asked to clarify, but now you have an opportunity to share your thoughts or experience. Don’t worry about the outcome of the share, no matter what happens, you’ll learn from it.
Two or three examples like this and the next time a supervisor position comes up, you may be considered for the role because you’ve demonstrated the ability to think outside your own box.
Thinking strategically is a great skill to have as a leader, necessary, in fact.
How do you need to improve your strategic thinking?