If you were to ask ordinary people, “How effective are your strategic thinking skills?” Invariably, they would rank themselves very high.
The same would apply to most skills that require mastery.
Many people have never taken a formal class, read a book, or watched a video on strategic thinking. Yet, they think they are proficient in this area merely because they can solve simple, everyday problems.
And when you are disillusioned about your skill level, you ultimately suffer lackluster results and live a lower quality of life.
As the world becomes more complex and competitive, it will become essential that individuals make concerted efforts to become proficient strategic thinkers.
Strategic thinking allows you to maneuver and discover solutions to practical problems to achieve far-reaching goals.
It’s a way of expressing yourself to the world where you stand and what you want.
This is especially vital for introverts.
In a world of dominant personalities, where it is truly becoming the survival of the fittest, introverts will have to outthink their extroverted peers in ways unimaginable in the past.
Debates over school choice, the value of college education, and increasing concentration on conspicuous consumption set the stage for extreme competition as it relates to dominance in the marketplace.
And because introverts are hardwired for educational and professional prowess, they must become deliberate in exercising strategic thinking techniques. Strategic thinking must become a lifestyle.
Unfortunately, developing strategic thinking techniques rarely is approached from a lifestyle perspective.
Tim Stobierski, in his article, “4 Ways to Develop Your Strategic Thinking Skills,” in the Harvard Business School online blog, outlined four ways to improve your strategic thinking skills, which are:
- Ask strategic questions
- Observe and reflect
- Consider opposing ideas
- Embrace formal training
Although these are great tips for developing strategic thinking skills, they are not attached to a holistic process where these skills become a part of your DNA.
Discovering and implementing a strategic thinking lifestyle is essential because the changing winds of contemporary society require that introverts get and stay ready.
Many introverts are already reading in solitude, researching new opportunities, and embracing a fit lifestyle, allowing them to integrate these habits into all-inclusive strategic thinking.
Now they can incorporate their penchant for discipline and structure into a process that allows them to pursue ventures and live a higher-quality existence.
Here are five strategic thinking techniques for introverts.
Discover and implement a strategic thinking model to systematize your thinking.
By adopting a systematic approach to strategic thinking, introverts can ensure that there are no gaps in their thinking and the practice is replicable.
Adopting a bona fide strategic thinking method shortens the time and effort for making the best decisions.
Most people are not effective strategic thinkers because they lack a process for achieving optimal results.
Adopt the idea that life is chess and checkers.
Since actor Denzel Washington quoted the line that life is chess, not checkers, in the movie, “Training Day,” many people promote one game and suppress the other.
Invariably, chess and checkers require strategic tactics to either capture the opponent’s king or take all the opponent’s checkers off the board.
And, of course, these games are metaphors for life.
Introverts must heighten their powers of observation in studying people’s behavior.
Books on history, philosophy, sociology, and psychology lay the groundwork for understanding human behavior rationally and scientifically.
In time, you can draw from a systematized body of knowledge where not only are you not surprised by people’s antics, but you can also anticipate them.
Watch and study movie plots.
A popular podcast, “Film Courage,” routinely interviews film producers and directors to determine the ideal process for developing successful movies.
The overarching theme of most film concepts is, “What does the hero want?”
In other words, why are we taking this journey with the movie star?
Movies should be entertaining and educational.
By watching movies with an eye toward logical sequencing, introverts can better align films with human pragmatism.
If you walk away saying, “That would never happen in real life,” you have improved your strategic thinking skills with what is real and what is fantasy.
Watch documentaries and read biographies.
The objective of artists and writers recreating reality is to understand the human experience better.
If we had to rely solely on individuals to explain their behavior, they would alter the analysis to reflect an idealism that would be untrue.
People aren’t objective when reporting and writing about themselves.
Consequently, documentaries and biographies attempt to objectively recreate reality to understand the rudiments of what motivates or inspires people to act to produce a specific outcome.
Documentaries and biographies are qualitative approaches to explaining human behavior.
Test and evaluate assumptions and opinions.
A good rule is consistently looking for facts in assumptions and opinions. There is very little value in strategic thinking without credible facts to build on.
Credible facts should come from reliable sources like educational institutions, governmental agencies, and nonprofit organizations. Although facts can be skewed for convenience, reports and studies from organizations created for goodwill should be considered when making assessments.
Strategic thinking introverts can maneuver effectively by considering sources, weighing the pros and cons, and evaluating the potential gaps in the research.
As rugged individualism grows, introverts who are most effective at navigating the social landscape will survive and thrive in the long run.
Introverts who are asked, “How effective are your strategic thinking skills?” will be able to say, “Alive and well.”
—Helen R. Metcalf
Stobierski, T. (2020, Sept. 10). 4 ways to develop your strategic thinking skills. Harvard Business School Online. Retrieved from: https://bit.ly/3T5UwTp.