I am known for my execution rigour. I am reliable and people can count on me for living up to my promises. However my strategic thinking & communication is lagging behind my peers. By my performance, clearly I lead the pack. However for a promotion, I feel I am not the top contender . What can I do to improve my strategic thinking and express it? ~ Senior Leader, Tech
The quest for perfection in everyday operations can prevent leaders from exercising their strategic muscle. Some of them cannot articulate their thinking process in a way that demonstrates their ability to think at breadth even though they have the skill to do so.
To elevate oneself, one needs to tame some dragons and unleash some gifts.
I have covered taming the dragons here.
This blog is about unleashing some gifts that you already may have but those that have rusted due to lack of use. So, how to elevate & express your strategic quotient?
1. Star Gazing
Ever looked at the night sky and wondered how large planets and stars bigger than the earth appear as mere dots?
What an inspiring feeling to look at just a part of the Universe crashed into 2 D picture right before our eyes?
If you were to take that and apply to your industry and company landscape what would be inspiring about it? What elements would you include in the landscape that you miss in your day-today working?
What's the new star that's popping up just for your attention?
If you choose to give it attention, what becomes possible? There, you have expanded your strategic thinking canvas.
2. Free hits to change the game
As a child, many of us have tried changing the rules of the game.
We have introduced 'thumb-hit' in carom, free hit in cricket, penalty hit in foot-ball and what not. We have made it inclusive for juniors, people of different ability with creating and adding new rules for them.
Strategic thinking fundamentally involves changing the rules of the game by either ignoring a constraint to introducing a new rule. Apply the same principle in your current work, you may discover something new. Look at your existing constraints, drop, alter or ignore them and see what you can come up with. Give yourself permission to colour outside the lines.
3. Connecting & Disconnecting the dots
If you were to connect disparate elements in your, what emerges for you?
If you disconnect different elements what becomes free for you to use differently?
Use the globe, use the map as guidelines and place the elements in your portfolio that you can play with. Connect and disconnect them and see what becomes possible.
To communicate that you can think strategically, stories are a great medium.
Stories have a start and an end.
In between there is a low and a high.
There is a protagonist who slays the dragons and ensures good trumps over to evil.
Convey your thinking and ideas in this format for reaching a wider audience.
Use as less technical elements in the story so that anyone can understand the meta of your thinking.
Strategic thinking appears big because its an unknown devil for most.
With simple practices you can elevate your craft and communicate to the betterment of yourself and your organisation.