Five Dimensions of a Strategic Mindset Every Leader Can Strengthen
In our previous post, we compared strategic decisions (big, consequential, upending, directive) to day-to-day operational or business decisions. But we quickly pointed out that strategic thinking (a comprehensive, integrative view of today, tomorrow, and the next decade) was a capability the most successful businesspeople demonstrate each day. So, what does an effective strategic thinker look like?
The science and art of strategy require leaders in any size company to develop a strategic mindset. From our perspective, mindsets are simply behavior—how you use your skills, abilities, and knowledge to succeed in different settings. Mindsets filter how we make sense of the world and ourselves. According to Carol Dweck in Mindset, The New Psychology of Success: How we can learn to fulfill our potential, “mindsets impact our choices and decisions.”
The components of a mindset are things you can learn or build proficiency in. We emphasize this because the most important thing budding strategists must understand is that everyone can build a strategic mindset. Once you develop the capability, you can continually strengthen those underlying skills, abilities, and knowledge.
What is a strategic mindset?
It’s the ability to mentally navigate an ambiguous future, effectively problem-solve, embrace change to be innovative, and make effective decisions. Five capabilities are essential to demonstrate a strategic mindset:
- Foresight: Thinking about an uncertain future, anticipating problems, and pivoting to address challenges or quickly overcoming obstacles.
- Being Inquisitive: Asking purposeful questions meant to target a problem. Also, being unafraid to break the mold and challenge convention in your thinking about the challenge.
- Agility: Demonstrating the ability to balance your understanding of current plans while continually assessing new options; and being comfortable pivoting to address opportunities or challenges.
- Comfort with abstraction: Showing ease working with unclear information—using inferential knowledge to gain unique perspectives and ideas. Think of it as connecting the dots and seeing patterns where others see nothing but chaos.
- Focusing on relevant information. Considering past, present, and future business performance in relation to short-term, mid-term, and long-term goals. Avoiding the tendency to follow anecdotal red herrings that seldom provide you with valid insights.
Every businessperson can develop their strategic mindset by understanding the behaviors and knowledge that lead to highly-effective, strategic decisions. Once you know what it takes to build a great strategy, you can look in the proverbial mirror and self-assess your strengths across the varied dimensions of strategic thinking. Then, it’s up to you. As we always say—the slightest improvement in your capabilities will move the mean of your leadership…and you will achieve exponential results.
This post is the second as part of a two-part series on strategic thinking.
- Communication (2)
- Decision-Making (3)
- Inspiration (1)
- Management (2)
- Self-Awareness (1)
- Small Business (1)
- Strategy (2)
- Business Growth (3)
- Finance (2)
- From 50 to 500 (2)
- General (2)
- Leadership (6)
Jonathan Dapra: The Architect of Business Success
In this post, I wanted to call out some insights from my recent interview with Martin Piskoric from the 21st Century Entrepreneurship podcast entitled “Jonathan Michael Dapra: The Architect of Business Success.”
Strategic Thinking in Your Decision Making
Businesspeople in all sizes of growing companies, routinely encounter tough decisions, challenging problems, and complicated situations. In an ideal world, leaders could rely on highly structured frameworks supported by rich datasets to point them toward great choices.
Cash Flow: the Number One Challenge for Growing Small Businesses
Regardless of company size, cash flow and cash will always be among the most critical elements to keep an eye on for any company trying to grow. More small businesses get into trouble due to cash than any other reason.
How Leaders Become Great
Why is leadership an important concept for us to consider? The answer is likely obvious to those of you leading an organization or who are part of a company leadership team. Strong leadership generates quantifiable financial results—revenue growth, profitability, cash flow, customer satisfaction—and qualitative people results, like talent attraction & retention or employee engagement, not to mention your personal satisfaction as a leader.