In the world of business, strategic thinking is one of the most common phrases connoting some form of practicality and slick orientation. It gets thrown around the table and used by many executives especially on business meetings, seminars, conventions and of course conferences. The prevalent utilization of the phrase may make a person to easily conclude that majority is of the same understanding when it comes to the meaning of “strategic thinking.”

To make it clear, through the years various theorists labored and came up with many theories supposedly to define the phrase in multitude of ways. However, we have to know and connect the meaning of strategic thinking to our present realities. So what is really strategic thinking? And can it be applied to our day-to-day grinds?

Principally speaking, strategic thinking is a way of thinking that is very much useful for both personal and business arenas. It is a way of viewing something be it a business, a relationship, even a family – taking something as a whole and dynamic system with variables involved working together on interdependent level. In other words, it is a way of perceiving the big picture and the factors involved in it.

As applied in management, strategic thinking is more focused on the future – the long-term. It is a state of mind that welcomes questions and questioning. It powerfully assumes that the way current things are being done is never essentially the best or the only method and therefore questions the basic factors in the way things are done.

It is an attitude that assumes no information is set in stone, that any information is imprecise and inexact, or simply open to investigation. Thus, whatever conclusions that can be derived from such information are, at best, guesses or supposition. Working from this point of view then makes any decision-making process more dynamic.

Strategic thinking involves being focused and concentrated on your intent and your goals, and not getting distracted. You develop a plan for the future. You focus on the system’s strengths and improving the system’s weaknesses to increase the chances for success. At the same time, you plan and anticipate the unexpected by having backup and contingency plans. You also have to consider past mistakes, present conditions and future possibilities in mind. You must also keep an open mind that is open to new ideas and opportunities. Flexibility and responsiveness are traits that are important in strategic thinking.

Most people believe that business leaders and managers should have strategic thinking as a core competency. However, it pays to have even those who are not in a leadership position to utilize strategic thinking.

It requires a change in perspective, a manner of approaching issues from different points of view. Sometimes it even calls for looking at things by totally turning it inside and out, upside down. Everyone can benefit from having an outlook that sees change as constant, hence the need to strategize to address it.

To survive the intense competition and to prepare for the future, we have to strategize!