Wood Words

Want to Build a Better Bottom Line in 2018? Develop This ONE Skill in Your Team

What’s the skill? Strategic thinking.

Strategic thinkers are problem-solvers who keep the big picture and long-term in mind. They think ahead, plan ahead and follow systematic thought processes that can adapt to multiple time-frames (i.e., today, next month, a year, five years).

These individuals are skilled at anticipating and preparing for both challenges and opportunities, keeping your organization a step ahead of competitors by:

  • working with limited available resources;
  • responding quickly to change;
  • thinking competitively;
  • creating momentum and focusing on growth.

Strategic thinking leads to success.

In fact, a global study of over 60,000 managers and executives cited in this Harvard Business Review online article showed that a strategic approach to leadership was, on average, 10 times more important to perceived effectiveness than other qualities (including communication, persuasion, innovation and results orientation).

Strategic thinking is a skill – not an innate ability.

This means it can be learned and honed over time – priming your staff to take on leadership roles and making your team more effective overall.

How can you get your team to think more strategically?

The process takes time, so be prepared for a long-term commitment to training. To develop this skill in promising employees:

  • Share the big picture. Share high-level overviews of your customers, competitors, market, technologies, etc. Help people see beyond their daily tasks and start connecting their work to the organization’s mission and bottom line.
  • Mentor strategic thinking. Pair people who have well-developed strategic thinking skills with those who haven’t developed them yet. As they work together, the mentee will begin to pick up on important skills.
  • Reward thinking, not just results. Creative solutions may fail, but it’s important to recognize and reward people who step up and share ideas that are well-thought out and developed.
  • Encourage questions. When someone presents an idea in a meeting, encourage the group to ask thoughtful questions to really flesh it out. Guide them towards asking questions about “why,” “when,” ‘how,” and “whom will this impact?”
  • Make it a hiring requirement for key roles. As you replace employees and grow your organization, assess candidates’ strategic thinking abilities during interviews by: presenting strategic problems to solve; listening for key strategic phrases in their responses; and evaluating how strategic candidates’ follow-up questions are.

Hiring strategic thinkers in 2018?

Our Murfreesboro recruiters can quickly and cost-effectively deliver the leaders and innovators your organization needs by:

  • accelerating the recruiting process to minimize drop-off of A-level talent;
  • pinpointing hard and soft skills that align with strategic thinking;
  • formulating behavioral and scenario-based questions to identify essential thinking skills;
  • administering relevant assessments to gauge abilities in this area;
  • direct-recruiting passive talent with proven skills;
  • effectively marketing your opportunity to appeal to candidates with strategic thinking skills.

What can Wood do for you? Contact our Middle Tennessee staffing and recruiting firm today.