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Getting Started with Strategic Thinking

By February 16, 2017No Comments
Getting Started with Strategic Thinking

You may have heard the term “think strategic.” But, what does that really mean? How is it different from the thinking that you do every day? Learning to think strategically can help you as you work to set a clear trajectory for your nonprofit or ministry.

Getting Started with Strategic Thinking

People who think strategically exhibit the following characteristics:

  • Broad thinking or seeing the big picture. But, strategic thinkers also know how to see the details. It is the ability to see both the forest and the trees.
  • Strategic thinkers use their imagination to construct abstract ideas.
  • Think outside the box. Strategic thinkers are not afraid to try new things and do things differently than they have always been done.
  • Enjoys a challenge and finding alternative solutions.
  • Focuses on an overarching goal —not just the goals that support the overarching goal.

As you might imagine, thinking strategically does not just happen by itself.  It takes effort to develop skills to think this way. The following action steps will help you to get on the path to thinking strategically.

[bctt tweet=”Strategic thinking uses a blend of intuition, creativity and planning to formulate a perspective future for the organ” username=”Grantconsultant”]

Getting Started:

  1. Schedule some time to think strategically. As a nonprofit or ministry leader, you probably spend much of your day running from one task to the next. Some experts say that we should spend 10% of our time thinking strategically, in other words, planning for what will be, looking at the opportunities. While this amount of time may sound scary, and you might be wondering where the time is going to come from, begin by committing 1% of your time to thinking strategically. That’s just 40-60 minutes a week. Block the time in your calendar and plan for it.
  2. Think about the issues and challenges that the organization is facing. Are these immediate and imminent or are they possibilities? For deeper insight into your organization, ask your staff and volunteers for their feedback. Then, develop a strategy now to prepare for these situations. Use your thinking time to develop possible solutions.
  3. Think about the opportunities that exist now as well as those that you are projecting in the next 3-6 months. Is the organization prepared for these opportunities? What do you need to do now to prepare? How will the opportunities impact the organization?

As you develop your strategic thinking skills, always remember to keep the organization mission front and center…use it to guide every thought and ensure that you are staying true to your purpose.

During the process of thinking strategically, stay open to ideas that you need to explore, and learn. Perhaps there is an emerging trend in your field that you are not familiar with, determine what you need to do to learn more about the trend.

Make decisions! Strategic thinking will not help the organization to progress unless you put it to work. After you think, act and be confident in the decisions that you make.

Throughout the process of thinking strategically, remember that you can change your course of action relatively quickly.  Since you are thinking on a regular basis, you will be able to quickly assess when a new decision needs to be made. And, celebrate the successes that you have. Since many will never see the work that goes into strategic thinking it is necessary to create opportunities to celebrate your success in a way that is meaningful to you.

Have a question about strategic thinking? Contact us, we’ll be happy to answer it.

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