The Edge: Strategic thinkers embrace 10 traits

(Photo: Jeannette Kraar)

To be strategic is to be innovative, resourceful, purposeful and intentional, which is why so many top businesses use a strategic planning process to stay ahead of their competition.

By thinking and planning strategically, professionals also can define a clear vision of their objectives, identify where the greatest opportunities lie, and create and implement an action plan geared for optimum results and success.

If you want to become more strategic, add these traits to your collection of attitudes and skills.

  1. Maintain a self-responsible attitude. Strategic thinkers live by the saying, “If it is to be, it’s up to me.” Consider the power of this mindset the next time you get stuck.
  2. Capitalize on strengths and minimize weakness. Do what you do best — a lot. Everyone is an expert in something. For Mrs. Fields, it was baking cookies and she made a lot of dough (pun intended). Had she gotten someone else to manage the growth of the company, she might still be successful today.
  3. Effectively use intuition. Strategic thinkers consider intuition to be the product of past experience, observations and projections. From this perspective, they are able to develop sensitivity to probable solutions. Have a “sense” about something? Listen to your inner voice.
  4. Have a clear purpose. Strategic thinkers start at the end. They know exactly what they want to accomplish before they begin and determine appropriate actions based on how well it will help them achieve the desired results.
  5. Become solution-oriented. By thinking strategically, limitations are removed and possibilities are considered. Contingency plans are created before they’re needed so progress can be managed on a proactive rather than reactive basis.
  6. Consistent “what’s right” positive perspective. Strategic thinkers manage from a position of strength by focusing on what’s working. This mindset allows new solutions or improvements to be created without jeopardizing an existing competitive advantage.
  7. Lead the way, take initiative. Strategic thinking promotes ideas that are new and often unproven. As an innovator and a leader, a strategic thinker takes action.
  8. Welcome risks, get comfortable with the unknown. To a strategic thinker, risk is nothing more than information that is not yet fully understood. Risk is managed through planning, change and the ability to adapt to improved solutions.
  9. Encourage and promote innovation and change. Strategic thinkers look for constant improvement. If something is good, they want to know how to make it even better. They are able to get change accepted and implemented through effective communication and strong leadership qualities.
  10. Deliver results. Equipped with the other nine traits, strategic thinkers can adapt to changing technology trends, market conditions, industry concerns, budget restrictions and basic challenges of life to persevere until they succeed.

The original article, written by Linda Brandt, appeared in FLORIDA TODAY on March 25, 2014 – The Edge: Strategic thinkers embrace 10 traits

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