Knowledge Center


Article -> Strategic Thinking Requires Change

Date Added: May 2015

Strategic thinking and adaptability to change continue to be the top skills identified for effective leadership. Having this in place for current and future leaders is a must for all organizations; and is worth the investment.

One study noted that the top organizations investing in leadership development have grown their market capitalization by 200 percent in the past 10 years – a 116 percent increase compared to those without comprehensive leadership programs.

A second study found that strategic thinking was 10 times more important to organizational effectiveness than other personal behaviors. And strategic thinking was twice as important as communication, the second most important identified behavior.

While organizations need all types of thinkers, strategic thinkers take a broader view of an organization and issues; providing more objective analysis and planning. This includes identifying not only what can occur in the short-term (3-12 months), but also how this will impact the next series of decisions in 18 months, two or three years.

Strategic thinking and adapting to change are difficult leadership skills to measure and develop. Both are more of a mindset vs. learned skill. In addition, while most organizations talk about strategy; they do not “walk the talk.” They are more reactive and reward immediate, tactical responses instead of well thought out strategies.

Fostering a culture of strategic thinking and change takes time and full engagement. Those on current leadership teams may not have these skills; yet serve as examples for others. Some items for organizations to consider include:

·        Allowing regular time for thinking, both alone and with others.

·        Seeking people outside of your industry. While individuals will need some industry education, those with general business experience know how to apply strategy to all industries.

·        Using your strategic thinkers as coaches for others because they know which questions to ask and explain “why” to help develop others.

·        Communicating that change is continuous and should be celebrated.

To thrive with both strategic thinking and change, organizations must be strategic about strategic thinking and demonstrate cultural change. This is the spirit of looking to the interests of others to develop effective leaders and organizational success.

David Yeghiaian is committed to leading people on a life-changing journey to being great leaders. Reach him at

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