Have you ever met someone you thought was a great thinker and discovered that you were wrong?
The person might have been college-educated and could spout facts and figures in ways that astounded you.
But as you got to know the person, you realized that he had a great deal of information but did not know how to integrate it pragmatically.
Individuals who have amassed a wealth of information often aren’t challenged to test their perspectives.
Ultimately, they have been allowed to journey throughout life without people putting them to the test.
Like math teachers requesting that students show their work in determining an answer, these individuals never had to show their work.
Under closer scrutiny, these individuals never developed an organized, systematic way of using the information to solve critical problems.
And even under closer examination, these individuals’ lives reflect a lack of discipline, productivity, and results.
As society becomes more distressed with lower levels of college graduates, the decrease in intellectual integrity and the frivolous exercise of thoughtful language, the levels of advanced thinking will continue to plummet.
The next big thing for strategic introverts is learning how to maneuver successfully in society using advanced thinking methods to circumvent jealousy and backbiting because these introverts demonstrate superior intellect and productivity.
In short, strategic introverts will be acclaimed for always making the right moves.
But what kind of thinker are you? And what type of thinker makes the right moves?
Different ways of thinking
The measure of effective thinking is based on the desired outcome.
And the desired outcome is representative of the bull’s eye on a target. The closer you get to landing your dart in the middle of a dartboard, the better your score in the game.
There are different ways of hitting the bull’s eye through practical thinking.
Allison Green of Boston Tutoring Services outlined the three modes of thinking: converge, divergent, and lateral thinking.
According to Green, convergent thinking is logical thinking often associated with critical or analytical thinking. This type of thinker uses facts and figures to derive answers to questions.
With divergent thinking, this type of thinker brainstorms ideas to develop solutions. Typically, they exercise a creative or free-flowing way of problem-solving. Divergent thinkers are less systematic and methodical in their problem-solving applications than convergent thinkers.
Finally, lateral thinking is a combination of convergent thinking and divergent thinking. Lateral thinkers may brainstorm solutions and develop a system to integrate the solution into a method or technique.
All three modes of thinking are designed to develop solutions to problems based on the comfort and hardwiring of individuals.
What is Strategic Thinking?
The Center for Management & Organizational Effectiveness defines Strategic Thinking as:
…Simply an intentional and rational thought process that focuses on the analysis of critical factors and variables that will influence the long-term success of a business, a team, or an individual.
Strategic thinking includes careful and deliberate anticipation of threats and vulnerabilities to guard against and opportunities to pursue. Ultimately strategic thinking and analysis lead to a clear set of goals, plans, and new ideas required to survive and thrive in a competitive, changing environment.
Although convergent, divergent, and lateral thinking are good precepts for problem-solving, the next big thing is strategic thinking, particularly for introverts. Although strategic thinking is not a new framework, it has primarily been utilized within business operations for long-term planning. Strategic planning is often the result of retreats and breakout sessions among corporate executives attempting to remain competitive and gain traction within the marketplace.
As the world has become more competitive, complex, and colder, strategic thinking should be incorporated into everything we do individually.
In this instance, strategic introverts have an advantage over others because they have preternatural pattern recognition, analysis, and problem-solving skills.
With the expansion of artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented reality (AR), strategic introverts will use these tools for everything from career development to dating compatibility.
Again, strategic thinking is currently utilized, but many use it as a nice to have rather than a need to have.
Society is becoming scarier because of the insecurity it breeds and the mental instability derived from educational, financial, and social upheaval.
And uncertainty and healthy paranoia will become the new normal.
Consequently, those who know how to maneuver, navigate, and exploit opportunities will flourish.
Being a strategic introvert means having a particular predisposition towards Machiavellianism, critical analysis, and pattern recognition.
In other words, a strategic introvert does what is best for a situation, never shuts off the thinking process, and uses shortcuts to make effective decisions.
The IBAR Critical Thinking Method (IBAR) is a shortcut for strategic thinking and uses industry leaders, standards, and best practices as benchmarks to escalate the decision-making process.
As a former general education development (GED) instructor who taught at-risk students in Atlanta, Georgia, I educated the students on the rudiments of IBAR.
Based on their backgrounds, they tended to make decisions based on emotions with no degree of research or analysis.
After learning IBAR, the students approached every class discussion as bonafide researchers.
They used their smartphones as research tools to ensure that every viewpoint was supported with data.
The shortcut was to use credible sources in a Google search to identify and evaluate best practices adaptable to their problem.
At the end of the year, they became strategists who understood how the world operated and how to maneuver within it.
Unfortunately, some students used the information successfully to escalate their criminal activities.
Like any effective tool, some people will use it to make positive contributions, while others use it to destroy.
Fortunately, the strategic introverts in the class graduated and used IBAR to create gaming systems.
In the coming years, the ranks of strategic thinkers like Bill Gates, Elon Musk, and Mark Zuckerberg will continue to grow.
In the end, life’s choices will begin with strategic thinking.
Those who fail to embrace this reality will live on the fringes of society.
And the choice would have been theirs.
Green, A. (2019, Jan. 24). The three modes of thinking. Boston Tutoring Services. Retrieved from: https://bit.ly/3ubQwro.
Strategic Thinking (n.d.). Center for Management & Organizational Effectiveness. Retrieved from: https://bit.ly/3g7jr7t.