Forward Thinking for the Win

Published by Timothy Reed on

Do you feel like you are constantly banging your head against a wall? It’s easy to run into a tough situation and resign yourself to thinking, “that’s just the way it is”. That’s a victim mentality that stalls out careers and kills the ability to lead well. Effective leaders in any field have the ability to get above a problem and think about it—not just bang away blindly and hope that something will magically change.

When you take a step back from a problem to think strategically about a solution you are engaging a part of your brain that most of the workforce ignores: Strategic thought.

Workers without the ability to think strategically:

  • Must be constantly told what to do (because they can’t be trusted to think for themselves)
  • Are easily replaceable (since their only value is in doing a task that someone else can be taught)
  • Handicap themselves from what could be accomplished (because they can’t see past themselves)

At it’s core, strategic thought is all about understanding how your (and other people’s) actions affect things down the road.

When you understand how your decisions and choices play out a few steps down the path it changes what you do in the here and now. You begin to ask yourself questions that take some time to answer, but can help avoid catastrophic mistakes you would have otherwise ran into. Rather than running into a problem, you get above the problem to look for a way around it.

So what is the key to beginning to think strategically about things?  Ask yourself these 5 questions before your next important decision:

  1. What is the ripple effect of this decision? (This helps you understand that things are bigger than you and there are always consequences)
  2. Am I making this decision out of fear or as an emotional reaction? (Never make a decision this way)
  3. How does this align with the vision of our company 5 years from now? (This means that you need to know where your company wants to go)
  4. Does this make life easier or more difficult for the customer? (If we don’t ask this questions it’s easy to forget about them)
  5. Why is this decision so important? (Knowing the “why” behind your decision changes everything) 

Learning to go through the disciple of these questions will change the way you make decisions —and make you wildly attractive to the leaders in your company. At the end of the day, businesses want to hire and promote people who make wise decisions. If you understand how to think strategically you’ll be amazed at the “lucky” opportunities that come your way—and you’ll be able to intentionally choose the one that’s right for you.

Don’t be the “worker bee” that never thinks for themselves and can’t figure out why they never have an opportunity.

You can become the next great leader in your company by practicing this day in and day out. Imagine, people looking to your wisdom for decisions, rather than you having to go to someone else for everything. You can stand out from the noise and grow like never before by practicing the simple discipline of strategic thinking—your future is counting on it.

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