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Keys to improve your strategic thinking

By Jeri Denniston, Chief Marketing Strategist, Denner Group International  April 2014

Takeaways: Improve your strategic thinking to stay on top of your game. Surround yourself with people who think differently in order to broaden your perspective.

It’s easy to get lost in routine and forget about constantly improving your game. One of the ways to do this is to constantly improve your thinking. According to Shaun Rein, author of Three Keys to Improving Your Strategic Thinking, published on Forbes.com, the easy thing is to only read and listen to people who think like you. But by doing that, you surround yourself with a group of “yes” people and you don’t gain the necessary insights from contrary thinkers.

In his article, Rein lists three keys to improve your strategic thinking. These are:
1)    Constantly question your own opinions. Don’t always assume your opinion is right. Listen to others and be open to consider another viewpoint. Read the opinions of those who criticize your viewpoint to see if what they say has merit. You may be surprised and find a nugget of truth that might change your opinion.

2)    Don’t just read articles by these contrarians; surround yourself with people who think differently. Whether you are a leader in a large organization, the head honcho, or an entrepreneur, it’s important to gather trusted advisors and staff who offer differing opinions about world views, marketplace opportunities, and business prospects. Choose people from seemingly disparate fields for periodic discussions around a specific theme or focus, such as the state of China’s economy.

3)    Finally, he says, it’s important to recharge your brain and your body regularly. We know the importance of taking time every day to exercise, as well as take extended vacations away from the office, computers, and your smart phone. Rein suggests taking a trip somewhere where the people are different – a different culture and language. Even doing simple things like volunteering weekly at a soup kitchen will force you to re-think your life’s priorities and recharge your brain.

Regardless of our level in an organization, as leaders it’s important that we challenge our own thinking and status quo. Otherwise, we end up in a rut and we limit our own potential.

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