February 8, 2023
As the first month of 2023 comes to a close, it offers a good reminder to once again consider how we want to grow personally and professionally as the year ahead unfolds.
By now, many of us may have set some shiny new goals, dusted off some old ones, or restarted one an undisclosed number of times. Now, while goals are ideal for helping us plan for progress, the real question remains; how do we make progress?
Let’s consider for a moment a skill that any marketer, newbie or seasoned, ought to be working on – cultivating a strategic thinking mindset.
What is strategic thinking?
In the context of marketing, strategic thinking requires a combination of both critical and lateral thinking abilities.
First, we must be able to analyze a situation, look for what is true or valid, what we can evaluate, and then form a judgement. Next, we will want to consider many possible pathways to explore. If marketing is to help solve the problems identified in the critical thinking stage, we will need to get a bit creative.
This is where lateral thinking shines. Looking at the problem through new perspectives or insights prompts us to generate many solutions that logic alone would not have revealed. One may even say this is the power of people and points of view converging.
Did I practice strategic thinking today?
Often, the hardest goals to achieve are the ones we have yet to work out how to break down into frequent or daily practice. This is important for strategic thinking as it is not every day we are met with its challenge, but it’s surely a poor choice to wait until we are, to hone our thinking. Let’s not forget a chef doesn’t receive a Michelin star their first time in the kitchen.
Instead, years of daily practice is the key to award-winning dishes, just as it’s the core ingredient to cultivating a strategic mindset. We must build it into the everyday and ask ourselves, did I practice strategic thinking today?
A way to practice
We see approximately 10,000 ads per day1, that’s up to 10,000 opportunities a day to take a minute, flex our thinking muscles, and turn our hazy goal into a helpful habit.
The next time you see an ad, consider peering through your strategic thinking lens by asking yourself the following 4 questions:
Remember, it’s not about the right answers; it’s about a way of thinking. Practice makes progress.