Being Strategic – What It Means

Strategic thinking, or being strategic, is often tossed around as a needed approach in the workplace. But what does it actually mean? Being strategic involves achieving short-term goals while keeping an eye on the future for potential opportunities or unforeseen consequences. It requires a continuous process of gathering data, analyzing personal opinions, anticipating possible reactions several steps ahead, and communicating recommendations or ideas in a way that a diverse audience can easily understand.

Being strategic means connecting seemingly unrelated dots to create new ways of doing things. It involves analyzing current processes, procedures, and strategies to identify even small enhancements that can add significant value at work.

Imagine a situation where you feel you cannot attend another meeting because you have too much work to do or the topic doesn’t seem relevant. If you genuinely believe you cannot contribute, it’s best to skip that meeting. However, if the topic is even remotely related to your work or interests, it’s a good idea to participate. Pay close attention to gather data or information that may not seem relevant today but could influence your thinking and help you generate new, innovative ideas to achieve long-term goals. You’ll realize this benefit when you pause and think, “Hold on, in that meeting, John shared some information or thoughts that could harm our planned ideas.” This pause is the process of connecting seemingly unrelated dots.

Some high-level steps that lead to being seen as strategic include:

  • Forming and sharing perspectives during meetings and conversations and being open to hearing different viewpoints.
  • Communicating perspectives in a way varied listeners understand.
  • Creating or identifying ways to achieve long-term goals, not only short-term ones.
  • And constantly improving on current results.