Do you know how to think strategically?

Being able to think strategically is a valuable career skill. To think strategically means that we are opening our minds to thinking in an alternative way about something: understandably, that can feel difficult sometimes.

The truth is that to do this we need to be good at “thinking”. This is very different from being “clever”: once we’ve mastered the skill (and it is a learnable skill) of thinking strategically about challenges, it can become your platform and source of expertise within a business. It allows you (and those around you) then to behave strategically in dealing more effectively with everyday issues.

At the heart of all this, we also need to understand the difference between thinking “slow” and thinking “fast”. There’s nothing wrong with thinking “slow” – quite the reverse: this is expertise-building that allows us to organise and access a body of evidence about our business or personal lives. Thinking “fast”, by contrast, is about rapid decision making that we might have to do when we’re forced to recognise new patterns or respond to emotional urges.

We move rapidly between the two worlds of course not least because they reinforce each other. The need for both will never change, but what is changing is the balance required between the two. We read that the business world is “uncertain” and this means fast-thinking is increasingly in demand. Let’s not forget the importance of slow-thinking – thinking strategically is under pressure but of more value than ever.

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