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Strategic Planning Blog

5 Qualities of Strategic Thinkers

Posted on October 14th, 2011 by Anne Marie Smith

Strategic thinking involves analyzing opportunities and problems from a big picture perspective and understanding the potential impact of an action. Essentially, it’s about looking before you leap. What does it take to be a strategic thinker? Five qualities I believe strategic thinkers need to have are:

  • Curiosity – Strategic thinkers are lifelong learners. They ask “why?” rather than “how?” They question everything. This can be as frustrating as a 2-year-old and sometimes you just want to answer, “Just because!” But curiosity often leads to better alternatives or solutions.
  • Long-Term Orientation – Strategic thinkers understand that it’s about the long term. It’s not about today, tomorrow, or next week. They are adept at envisioning the possibilities and payoff.
  • Open Minded – Strategic thinkers are open to new ideas and welcome feedback. They are continually seeking out ways to improve and perfect. They also challenge their own thinking. You will never hear a strategic thinker say, “That’s impossible.”
  • Zoom-Out Ability – Strategic thinkers have the ability take the helicopter view and keep the overall corporate strategy or company mission in their mind’s eye in every decision they make.
  • Analytical – Strategic thinkers analyze the pros, cons, and possible consequences and make fully informed decisions based on the data available.

What other characteristics do you associate with strategic thinking?

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