Someone’s got to think differently! One of the principal functions of a leader is to do “strategic thinking,” after all, if the leader is thinking like everyone else, no one is leading! Try these techniques to give you a different perspective on your work and see if you shift your thinking style.
Ask, “What’s the big picture?” Try to look from another perspective. Look beyond the efforts of your team. Look at your work from the most important most valuable perspective available to you. Take the “God perspective”, if you will. What are the major themes and values being expressed by your work? How can you shift your energy to meet the biggest purpose?
Ask yourself, “What’s missing?” I’ve noticed many good people will take a portfolio of information and analyze it to death. Very few people will look at that portfolio and say, “what else do we need to know?” With everything you are working on, try to expand the window. Ask yourself what information is missing. Once you have that awareness that something else could be there, try making intelligent guesses and collecting data.
What do the patterns tell you?
You’ve heard the expression, “I can’t tell the forest from the trees?” The danger of being surrounded by volumes of information is that we lose touch with the patterns. Take a step back and look with fresh eyes. Can you find a pattern with your business or project? What can you learn? What will happen in the next six months? (Trust your instincts.)
Do a STEEPLE analysis. A STEEPLE analysis ought to appeal to those who love data and analysis. STEEPLE is an acronym; it stands for “social, technology, economic, environment, politics, legal, and ethics.” Look at your all of your information and review where you are going in terms of the steeple qualities. You can find more information about STEEPLE analysis online if you haven’t done it before. The essence of this is to look at your situation, your context, and examine it from each of seven different perspectives. Expand the framework of you thinking, and you may have new insight into your strategic direction.
Challenge your assumptions. Challenge all of them. Begin by listing the assumptions behind what you’re doing. Then, take the devil’s advocate approach: what if they weren’t true? Perhaps your assumptions only work under certain circumstances. Your assumptions are the foundation for the future of your work. Take a critical look at them, and ask yourself “what if things were different?”
Think like a leader. Take a strategic view, one that examines where you are going. Share your thinking with other bright people. In the spirit of respectful appreciation, worked to expand your thinking, look for opportunities and examine your threats. Your work as a leader may be to take your workforce to a place they had never expected to go.
Watch my twelve minute video on the Most Important Leaders In the World: