How to Think Big Picture

Big picture thinking, also known as strategic thinking, is an industry buzzword and an imperative leadership skill set. It is defined as the way in which you process, or think about, view, and construct the future vision for yourself and organization. Your ability to think strategically impacts decision-making, innovation, and also career success for yourself and the organization. It is a fundamental skill set that every leader needs to have. So how do you think big picture? Check out the 7 tips below.

  1. Start with your mindset. See yourself as an innovator and change agent. If you do not see yourself in this light, you will be less likely to think outside of your own roles and responsibilities.
  2. Research. Be curious about your industry and key business trends. Also, pay attention to organizational processes and events. Look for the successes and failures. Think about ways that you can incorporate your learnings into your work.
  3. Challenge yourself and be flexible. Ask difficult questions and be willing to pivot to adapt to new circumstances. Strategic thinkers know there are many ways to do things and are willing to change directions if they know it is in the best interest of the goal or organization.
  4. Communicate clearly. Your ability to communicate will determine the impact you have on your organization. This is especially important when communicating a vision. Start by structuring your thoughts, prioritize the points that you want to make in meetings to ensure the messages are delivered clearly.
  5. Embrace conflict. Strategic thinkers know that sometimes you have to ruffle some feathers to innovate. If you are afraid of conflict you will be less likely to challenge processes, and less likely to drive progress. Challenge the status-quo.
  6. Learn and reflect. Lifelong learning is essential in your ability to think strategically. The more you learn, the broader your awareness and the better your decisions. It is also important to take time to reflect on what worked and what did not. Write down the mistakes and create action plans to avoid the same mistakes in the future.
  7. Have a vision. The vision should include both personal and professional goals. Think about the long-term future but also the short-term. A misstep that strategic thinkers have is that they only think about long-term goals. You need to be able to build in short-term wins that will help achieve long-term goals.

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