We spend so much time mired in the minuta of the checklist and next actions we often lose sight of the bigger picture around us. Keeping a strategic point of reference helps ensure we are doing the right things for the right reasons rather than just doing the next thing on the list. The problem becomes, how do you think strategically every day when you're spending your time in the hamster wheel. Here's five tips on how to do just that:
Look for connections
As you go through the motions each day, look for connections between your projects and activities. Seeing these obscured dotted lines can provide a perspective into what can be done to improve things on a larger organizational scale or even on the smaller personal scale.
Every time you find something that works for a project or process, think about if that could be applied in some form to other places. Repeatable successes not only improve execution but they also encourage refinement of the idea potentially improving the original success in the process.
There's a great deal of chatter about the concept of mindfulness in the workplace and I'm a firm believer that giving yourself time to be in the moment and look at things without the rush of execution can open doors into strategic insights you would never make otherwise. We equate action with success but don't give thinking the same credit to our detriment. The 10-15 minutes I spend being mindful about a situation can be the most effective of the day with the right thinking.
Find a sounding board
Locate someone who doesn't think like you exactly, has different experiences, and is willing to provide their perspective on things. Use them as your sounding board to hone and refine strategies. The action of explaining a strategy is often enough to help improve and distill it into a stronger idea. Using a sounding board can help you avoid idea blindness and broaden your vision to bigger and better ideas.
Write things down
Strategy doesn't have a schedule. Anyone who says they are having a strategy session at a certain time is billing you by the hour. Strategy and inspiration come at off times when the mind has times to disconnect and free associate ideas. Capture potential ideas as if you were planting seeds in the ground. Not all will sprout and even fewer will grow but without giving them a chance you'll never know.
The Idea Pump is a consultancy focused on helping businesses and individuals develop their skills around strategic thinking and ideation. Subscribe today to TIP – The Idea Pump newsletter for updates and insights just for subscribers.