Weed Control (Part 3): How can you become a strategic thinker?


Previously on “Weed Control,” we talked about the importance of strategic thinking and what strategic thinking looks like. Today, we look at some specific actions you can take to become and be known as a strategic thinker.

Before we look at how to become a strategic thinker, it is good to see some of the distractions that can keep us in the weeds:

  • Often, we stay in the weeds because we have a technical bias — “we fix stuff”
  • We are also rewarded to stay in the weeds – “I’m rewarded when I fix stuff”
  • We may have a fear of getting out of the weeds – “No one else can fix my stuff the way I can”
  • Unstated expectations may keep us in the weeds – “Fixing stuff is my job”
  • And, we become too comfortable in the weeds – “I’d rather fix stuff than anything else”

Despite these distractions, we need to get out of the weeds and become a strategic thinker. Here are some ways or action we can take to become a strategic thinker:

  1. Confirm expectations and critical success factors for your position – things change and what you might have thought were expectations at the beginning of the year may not be what is needed now – by understanding these expectations better, we can more clearly see the path to the future
  2. Get out-of-your-box – we need to change our thinking from “why it can’t be done” to “what can I do to make it happen”. Our management does NOT want to hear our excuses or reasons, they want us to find a way to make things happen. Be creative and do something no one else has ever done before!
  3. Seek the input of others – no one can solve every problem alone. Find someone else (a coach, mentor, or friend) that will listen to us and help us be objective in finding solutions to our problems. Find that innovative friend that can help shape our early thoughts into a masterful solution!
  4. Anticipate change – remember, nothing stays the same in life or business. Think ahead to how things will be different and begin now to craft a new approach.
  5. Think “big picture” – a strategic thinker gets out of the weeds and looks beyond today or beyond this year. Short-term victories are good, but this is a marathon, not a sprint!
  6. Be introspective about your career – where do you want to be 5 years from now? Can you get there from here? If not, what actions are needed today? Look at yourself like a hiring manager. Do you have all the skills that make you the automatic choice when that opening arises?
  7. Take initiative! For example:
    1. Network with others to become better known AND to learn about what you want or need next in your career
    2. Create your own opportunities – don’t just assume that path to your future is a straight line
    3. Be seen and known as one that “gets it done”
    4. Think and act as though you own the company – take the action needed, say the things needed, do what others will not do
    5. Re-think relocation – being mobile could be a significant career enhancer
    6. Be bold! – you will be surprised what happens when you become known as one that will be candid and open rather than as one that simply follows others

So, there you have it! Get out of the weeds.  Take charge of your future.  Move the needle in your job, your function, your company.  Don’t expect that significant change in your career if you are content to keep pulling weeds by hand.

Have an awesome day! There is still a chance… this could be our very best day yet!


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