What is Strategic Thinking?

What is Strategic Thinking? 

By David Willden

Strategic thinking is the process of thinking through the ideal strategy to reach your vision. Strategic thinking includes developing a deep understanding of the external and eternal variables that could help or hurt your ability to achieve the vision.

Other Definitions

What is Strategic thinking? There isn't a common definition for strategic thinking. Below are various attempts to define the concept:

Strategic thinking is a synthesizing process that includes intuition and creativity, whose outcome is an integrated perspective (Mary Bast)

  • Strategic thinking is a broader and more innovative way of thinking on a daily basis about the overall goals of your job, team, and organization. It is longer-term oriented with a more systemic and holistic view of your environment. (Stephen Haines)
  • Strategic thinking focuses on finding and developing unique opportunities to create value by enabling a provocative and creative dialogue among people who can affect a company’s direction. (Center for Applied Research)
  • Strategic Thinking attempts to establish the “WHAT” the organization should look like. (Dominick Borzomati)
  • Strategic thinking is about finding and developing a strategic foresight capacity for an organisation, by exploring all possible organisational futures, and challenging conventional thinking to foster decision making today (Abraham, Stan, Stretching strategic thinking, Strategy & Leadership, Vol. 33, No. 5 (2005), 5-12)
  • Strategic thinking, a key thought process of strategic management framework; is defined as the generation and application of unique business insights and opportunities, to create competitive advantage for a firm or organisation. (Wikipedia)
  • Strategic thinking is the synthesis of creative and action-oriented thinking applied in a specific organization (Rich Horwath)


Why is Strategic Thinking Important?

There are three basic components to goal setting and results: 1. vision, 2. strategy, and 3. execution.   A vision is a picture of the future we aspire to. A strategy is your plan to make your vision a reality. And, execution is the process of acting on your strategy. Keys to success are:

  • Vision: The ability to develop a clear picture of your desired results
  • Strategy: The capacity to develop a strategy to best reach your desired results
  • Execution: The discipline to consistently implement the strategy

Strategic thinking helps you to understand and pursue optimized approaches to reach your vision

How to Develop Strong Strategic Thinking Skills?

Another way to poise the question is, how can I best improve my ability to:

  • develop a clear picture of my desired results (vision)?
  • draft an optimized plan to reach my vision (strategy)?
  • enhance my discipline to consistently implement the plans and actions associated with my strategy (execution)?

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What is Strategic Thinking?

What is Strategic Thinking?