What Exactly Is a Strategic Thinker?

Being tagged as “strategic” or “not very strategic” can be a boon or a bust for your career in the business world. Unfortunately, you must dig deeper to understand what the compliment or curse means.

Have you ever met a strategic payroll clerk? Probably not, though I bet there are some. Some positions are thought to be strategic and some aren’t.

Have you seen someone who’s admired for being strategic when what he or she really has is chutzpah? You don’t have to be slick or a brilliant communicator to be strategic.

CEOs are strategic, right? Many aren’t. It’s not the job title that makes you strategic, though the job of a CEO should require strategic thinking.

Just being smart doesn’t make you strategic. Your genetic material doesn’t make you strategic, and having an MBA doesn’t make you strategic either.

“Strategic” isn’t a personality trait, though there are some personalities that seem more capable.

Strategic thinkers contemplate the future and identify how they’ll prosper. Activity defines a strategic thinker, not education, birthright or title. If you don’t think about the future and pinpoint ways to succeed, you aren’t a strategic thinker, regardless of your job title. People with good fast-twitch muscle fiber and superior eyesight might be decent baseball players, but if they don’t routinely play the game, they ain’t baseball players!

Thinking about the future and how you’ll prosper in that environment will make you strategic, regardless of whether you receive accolades for it. It doesn’t require clairvoyance or brilliance — though intelligence helps! It’s about having a process and doing the hard work. People talk about many things, like thinking strategically, in mystical terms, when in fact it just requires activity.

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If this resonated with you, I’d be honored if you shared it with someone who might enjoy or benefit from reading it.

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