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Characteristics of Strategic Thinking

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Digital Marketing - Study Notes:

Natural strategic thinkers tend to be big-picture oriented and direction-setters. These skills come naturally to some. And even if you don’t already have these skills, they can be learned.

What are some of the main characteristics of strategic thinking? It is conceptual, systems-oriented, directed toward the future, and opportunistic in nature.

At its core, strategic thinking involves planning for the future. This means preparing strategies and conjuring ideas that will both cope with changing environments and consider the various challenges that lie ahead. This is strategic thinking in its forecasting or predictive form.

But there is another form of strategic thinking. A more powerful form of strategic thinking involves designing the desired future, and planning to make it happen. In other words, instead of just planning for the future, you aim to create the future!

Strategic thinking in action

A group of six outdoor education centers served the education system’s inner-city schools in a major UK city.  They were concerned that, with budget cuts, they were vulnerable to withdrawal of funds and to closure. In fact, three other centers had already been closed in the previous three years.

A Senior Education Officer persuaded them that, although they had always been competitors, the centers would be stronger if they joined forces, shared resources, and supported one another. This was a new strategy!

One way to do this was to create a shared vision of how successful they could be. Guided through the visioning process, they developed the skills to think strategically about many of their systems, procedures, and operating plans.

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Bill Phillips

International Facilitator, Trainer, and Team Coach

  • Has successfully coached CEOs, board members, directors, executive teams, and team leaders in public and private companies, NGOs, and UN organizations in 15 countries across four continents
  • Is the creator of Future-basing®, a highly potent process for building strategy, vision, and cooperation
  • Inspires people to build excellent interpersonal relationships and achieve their goals

The following pieces of content from the Digital Marketing Institute's Membership Library have been chosen to offer additional material that you might find interesting or insightful.

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    Thinking Strategically
    Bill Phillips
    Skills Expert

    Being able to think strategically, and to see the bigger picture, are attributes that every great leader should possess. With strategic thinking, you can create the future for yourself and your employees. It helps you to identify opportunities for change, and take advantage of them. This, in turn, increases market share and profitability, and makes your business more durable.

    In this module, you will learn how to become a strategic thinker. You will discover the characteristics of strategic thinking, and its many benefits. You will also be introduced to a method called Future-basing® that you can use to build a vision for the future in your own organization.

    You will also learn how to develop a leadership mindset, which entails being able to visualize how things should be, communicating that vision, and taking a wider, more panoramic view. This should help you transition from acting like a manager to thinking like a leader – which is another key take-away from this module.