Seventhman Blog

Strategic Thinkers: Born or Made?

"strategic thinking"Not all leaders are created equal. We all agree on that.  Would it be right to say that strategic thinkers have the makings of a great leader?  The topic has been hotly debated for years and there are many studies that beg to differ between those who are born with the gift vs. those who are shaped by daily experiences.  When strategic thinking becomes an essential recipe in an organization’s sustainable success, having someone who can add the highest impact to the business is becoming a rat race.  Just because someone is successful in running functional roles doesn’t ensure that s/he has the makings of a strategic leader.  Who can create that ultimate plan to turn ideas into reality and drive real change that will grow your business?  This remains to be answered..

Thinking Outside Multiple Boxes

Or, thousands of them.  In today’s ever-shifting business environment, those who can think and act strategically are worth their weight in gold.  I’m pretty sure that at some point, every company has a need for strategic leaders – and it’s always an urgent job vacancy that remains unfilled for many.  Innovation is quite overrated these days that you have to really understand just what makes leaders strategic and what are they supposed to do in your organization.  Is strategic thinking simply a mindset, or a set of specialized skills?  How can you even encouraged strategic thinking when immediate actions are often rewarded over long-term idea generation and planning?  These are just a few questions to consider.

The Leadership Mystery We Fail to Solve

Despite numerous attempts to define leadership at its finest, there’s still a grey line somewhere on what makes a true, great leader.  Opinions vary and theories are many when it comes to the nature of leadership.  Is it more than just the art of dealing with people and having a vision?  There are lots of right opportunities to develop people into highly effective leaders; they don’t simply sprout like some micro-organism in a Petri Dish.  Perhaps, they may be born with the gift, but those with the right type of training, tools and experiences have an increased ability in strategic thinking.  Developing an exceptional leader is not some secret craft made only for the elite few – if management will reward people for thinking and keeping them updated with what’s really happening.  Communication and transparency are not really a mystery after all.

What Makes a Good Strategic Thinker?

It’s a tough job; make no mistake about it. To sum it up, strategic leaders are those who:

•    Think Clearly and Act Quickly when issues and opportunities arise
•    Deliver Value to the Business
•    See the Organization’s Vision in a bird’s eye view and anticipate beyond what’s directly ahead
•    Questions everything without fear
•    Love to explore new products, services and markets
•    Proactively find ways in achieving complex goals
•    Test assumptions and integrate multiple sources to come up with a well-informed, sound and smart decision
•    Build Passion, Drive and Inspiration among the team
•    Embrace Change with open arms
•    See Failure as a journey; not a destination

Obviously, no one person is born with all these skills and learning it can be daunting.  In large organizations, there may be one or more strategic leaders who complement each other as they work towards a common goal.  Now, I’d like to leave you with one question:

Do You Have What It Takes?