It’s been said that the most successful organizations are comprised of strategic thinkers. Depending on the person or the organization you’ll probably hear it defined in various ways. Simply put, strategic thinking is a cognitive ability that allows people/organizations to maximize resources and mitigate risk in order to increase their chances for success. Despite the array of definitions, it’s not always easy to determine whether someone has the skills that classify them as a strategic thinker. Here are a few things to consider when building a team, or if you simply want to do a self-assessment.

Skill #1 | Robert Bradford, the CEO at the Centre for Simplified Strategic Planning, says that a strategic thinker has the ability to develop objectives and an action plan to tackle the objectives. These types of thinkers segment each task and pair them wIth specific resources and timelines.

Skill #2 | Strategic thinkers are open to brainstorming. When a group is forming ideas or whether they are brainstorming alone, these types of thinkers are more likely to be open, rather than judgmental. They understand the power of a good idea, even if it initially seems undeveloped or unattainable.

Skill #3 | Lastly, it’s important to seek out people who are perceptive and aware. Certain people are in tune with their surroundings, and through observation are able to form a good idea about what others can and can’t do. They are able to spot opportunities within their internal and external environment and leverage them for the benefit of their company/organization. Strategic thinkers are great listeners because they understand that learning can help spark ideas, or find solutions to their personal and organizational challenges. This is an effect of their ability to figure things out.

Someone once said, strategy is often in the things you decide NOT to do. Sometimes it’s a matter or determining where your resources should be placed to maximize an outcome. Unleash the strategic thinker in you by developing objectives, opening yourself up to brainstorming, and being perceptive and aware.

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