Last week’s message [hyperlink] about the importance of learning to think and act strategically led to numerous responses that were insightful. While I responded to each one individually, one responder raised a great question I’d like you to see. He asked if there were people who just didn’t have the ability to think strategically. Referencing a popular assessment’s description of a particular type, he confirmed his belief that it is a capability that not all have.
To a certain extent, I have to agree. There are certain thinking styles that naturally focus on concrete, specific and detailed aspects of a project, making it challenging to take a strategic view. Conversely, it is natural for others to begin their thought process at the more conceptual, abstract and big picture perspective, often overlooking the more granular requirements of something. You will be better at whichever is natural to you.
However, because we’re talking about cognitive and behavioral practice, the skills needed to think and act strategically can be learned, just as the skills and thinking about tactical execution can be learned and practiced. So the question is less about your capability and more about learning the skills you need and then managing yourself to practice them.
That said, I’m curious: can you say that you paid any more attention to the strategic perspective of your work than previously? If not, why not? Because if you didn’t, you personify the accusation of another responder who complained that too many in his circle only want to know what to do and how to do it, and glaze over when given an explanation as to the why behind the engagement.
It matters a lot because you can be more focused and purposeful, especially when the project gets cloudy or confusing. Knowing where the north star is will guide you through the fog of incomplete information and delayed decisions. It’s the evidence you’re more than a technical-bot, which you are.
So, no excuses. Consider a strategic perspective on the next thing you touch after reading this message. And let me know how it goes.