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Introduction to strategic thinking skills

Focus on the right things, deliver results, and outperform competitors

Cynthia Owens

If managing a team or leading a group seems really hectic these days, that’s because it is. The pace of global change is accelerating. Traditional leadership tactics are falling short amid the relentless force of change. Leaders who think strategically can adapt quickly to outperform competitors. Strategic thinking helps you focus on the right things and so you deliver results.

This interactive training is designed to give you a clear understanding of what it means to be a strategic thinker inside your organization. It focuses on how to become a more adaptive and innovative leader to cope at the speed of business today, rather than how to put together or analyze a strategic plan. Importantly, you will leave with practical steps you can begin to practice immediately to start transforming how you work with your team and across your organization. The course combines short lectures, discussions, and exercises to bring the concepts to life in a way that you can adapt them to your work. Find out how to think strategically so you can be more valuable within your organization.

What you'll learn-and how you can apply it

By the end of this live, online course, you’ll understand:

  • Be able to articulate the difference between strategic thinking and traditional business mindsets
  • Identify ways you can shift from reactionary fire-fighting, to proactive and strategic action
  • Begin shift your mindset to help you become a leader in your organization
  • Hone in on the skill sets that will help you transform
  • Experiment with a couple of tool sets for strategic thinking

And you’ll be able to:

  • You and your team are under pressure to deliver more with less
  • The leadership skills that have worked for you in the past aren’t working and working harder is not helping you get ahead
  • The pace of your work and the demands on your team are accelerating and you spend all your time solving problems
  • You want to get noticed and put yourself in line for promotion

This training course is for you because...

  • Managers or directors leading a team that is moving fast and needs to deliver on priorities and be seen as a strategic business partner
  • Aspiring managers and team high potentials who want to be more valuable on their teams and to gain the skills that will help them move up
  • Senior project managers and team leads who work across the organization

Prerequisites

  • An interest in changing the way you lead and manage, to actually break old habits
  • A willingness to try new ways of learning. This course is highly interactive. We will walk you through the first steps toward actual change so you can implement them yourself.
  • An understanding of how organizations work and an openness to stepping back and looking critically at the culture of your organization and your behaviors

Recommended reading before the course:

About your instructor

  • Cynthia helps organizations perform better by focusing on how people and teams can be more successful. She’s worked with some of the world’s biggest companies and non-profits in the U.S. and Asia. Cynthia is currently a partner at WhatBox Innovation Partners. She spent 5 years as senior consultant with XPLANE, the pioneering visual thinking firm. Her clients have included UPS, Nike, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Ford.

Schedule

The timeframes are only estimates and may vary according to how the class is progressing

Lecture: Understanding Strategic Thinking (30 minutes)

  • Introduction: What would it look like if you were a strategic thinker?
  • Lecture: What is strategic thinking?
  • Why strategic thinking is one of the most valuable leadership skills today
  • The principles and best practices of successful strategic thinkers
  • Different models of strategic thinking
  • Exercise: What kind of strategic thinking do you need in your organization?
  • Q&A

Lecture: Learning Strategic Thinking Mindsets (25 minutes)

  • Lecture: Strategic thinking mindsets
  • Bringing an innovation mindset to ignite strategic thinking
  • Where to start adopting a new mindset
  • Exercise: What kind of innovation mindset is most important here?
  • Q&A

10 minute break

Lecture: Strategic thinking skill sets (20 minutes)

  • Key skill sets to develop to work more strategically
  • Where to start building new skill sets
  • Exercise: Identify and prioritize the skillsets you need now – don’t try to do everything at once
  • Q&A

Lecture: Strategic thinking toolsets (20 minutes)

  • Explore 3 tools that serve as frameworks for strategic thinking
  • Where to start with new frameworks for your work
  • Exercise: Deploy a framework
  • Q&A