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Leadership Strategies: Skill 4 - Strategic Thinking

Layne McDonald. Ph.D.

To handle yourself, use your head; to take others, use your heart. - Eleanor Roosevelt

Strategy thinking is an essential element of leadership . In this section, I will explain why and give tips for improving your strategic thinking and planning skills.

The Role of Strategy in Success

Strategy is long-term planning with a fancy name. You have a goal in mind and then map out a step-by-step plan to achieve it. Your strategy must be logical and practical if you want it to work. Each step you take should build to the next step.

Without a strategy, it is exceedingly difficult – even impossible – to achieve your biggest goals. You might have the plan to be the CEO of a Fortune 500 company. Your strategy might include getting an MBA and a host of other steps that will put you in a position to achieve that goal.

The thing about strategy is that it is not just for you. Having a plan in place can help you get investors to fund your company, and it can also help you inspire your team.

Tips for Improving Your Strategic Thinking and Planning Ahead

Some people have a natural gift for strategic thinking. They are the people who are great chess players and who naturally see everything ten steps ahead.

If you are not one of them, do not worry. Here are some tips to help you improve your strategic thinking.

Before you make any decision, think about some outcomes and brainstorm what you will do next with each one. This kind of practical thinking can help you become a better strategist.

Think about your goals and work backward to decide what actions will help you achieve them. Think of this as reverse engineering a strategy.

Ask team members and trusted friends for suggestions to help you plan strategically.

Try creating a timeline to plan each step on the way to your goal.

The more you practice strategic thinking, the easier it will be.

Next, we will discuss the fifth and final must-have leadership skill in this book: delegation.

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