Strengthen Your Strategic Thinking Skills

by Jennifer Deamud

In a world driven by rapid-fire consumption and ever-evolving technology, planning ahead is more crucial than ever. The ability to anticipate the future and make strategic decisions accordingly could determine the success of your business, organization or personal endeavors.

Each day, new opportunities surface that call for strategic thinking. Whether you’re looking to further your personal knowledge and skills, promote a business or generate funding and development for a nonprofit organization, innovative brainstorming is essential.

It’s never too early to plan for the future. Just as college students hash out their graduation timelines and steadily work toward an end goal, successful professionals typically map out their ideal career path years in advance, editing and re-planning as they progress.

Most women possess a natural ability to think strategically, simultaneously utilizing both the right and left side of the brain. Whether we realize it or not, we automatically anticipate future circumstances and situations, which allows us to begin imagining new ways to acquire the outcomes we desire. Three important and prominent skill sets women have are: the ability to process information, advanced perceptiveness and a tendency to remain open minded.

For most people, strategic thinking is a learned skill that strengthens with practice. Here are a four ways you can improve.

Overcome Fear

The fear of making the wrong decision can be a barrier to effective leadership and critical thinking. It’s important to be able to identify when fear affects decisions in order to properly assess an issue and move past it. Openly discussing concerns with colleagues and co-workers provides new perspectives designed to hurdle any obstacle.

Observe Your Surroundings

Pay attention to both internal and external activities and actively seek out answers to any questions that arise. Think of your role within your organization as transformational rather than transactional–be inquisitive, absorb insight and allow yourself ample room to grow from what you learn.

Communicate Your Thoughts

The more you learn, the easier it will be to structure your verbal and written communications with a strategic focus. Practice prioritizing your thoughts in a way that allows recipients to clearly comprehend the main point of your message.

Take Time for Yourself

Many of us feel we need more time in the day. Instead of routinely packing your schedule with meetings and an endless to-do list of tasks, take some time to cultivate your strategic thinking skills. Write down your biggest questions and find the answers. Initiate and encourage dialogue with colleagues who have opinions that conflict your own to gain new understandings. Rake in as much knowledge as possible so you can apply it to your personal or professional life in the future.

Jennifer (and her husband Dave) started an endowed scholarship at GVSU for students affected by their parents being incarcerated- “Be the Change” scholarship can be accessed at



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