Want to Move Up? Start By Developing Strategic Planning Skills

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As you move up in your career, the cognitive abilities that you need to possess increase. Everything from your ability to handle conflict to your creativity will have to evolve along with the responsibilities you’re asked to take on. Strategic planning is one of the most invaluable skills that you can develop. It allows you to think about what the future might hold, then create strategies to tackle those challenges and opportunities with finesse and foresight.

You can start to develop these skills yourself by focusing on these three growth techniques:

1. Set Aside Time to Think and Create

Companies like Google and 3M set aside time every week, about 20% of working hours, to allow employees to work on any project that they would like to. It does not have to be work related, just productive and passion-driven. From that time, products like GMail and sticky notes were developed.

What does that mean for someone developing strategic planning skills? It’s a great way to flex your “muscle” a little, without the pressure of performing a particular task set to a particular deadline. Give leaders in your business the time to work creatively and watch them bloom. Give yourself the same privilege. Once everyone is comfortable with their projects and passions, invite people to share and collaborate. This encourages creative thinking and can lead to even more productivity.

2. Observe and Empathize

If you really want to develop strategic planning skills, it pays dividends to spend time observing your employees and “walking in their shoes.” Too often, business leaders spend their time delegating tasks and dealing with paperwork. While those are important functions of a business, take the time to see the ins-and-outs of everyday life at your company.

While doing so, ask yourself and others questions like, “What’s not working around here?” and “Could this process be made easier?” Even if nothing changes today, it’s can change in your 2-, 5-, or 10-year plans. Being aware of issues before they really become issues and dedicating yourself to improving upon them is a critical piece of strategic planning.

3. Create a Culture of Learning

Encourage yourself and others to constantly seek new information. It doesn’t even have to be specific to your field! Read travel journals, explore forums or websites about topics you’re interested in, or spend some time on YouTube learning a new skill. While this may seem like it’s not work-related, a huge portion of learning something new, like a hobby or skill, requires problem solving and perseverance.

Those soft skills can translate to hard results once you implement them into work-related projects. Think about grade school and learning reading comprehension skills. While it may have seemed that those were isolated skills at the time, we use inferencing, foreshadowing, and our understanding of figurative language everyday to understand the world around us. The same can be said for learning other skills, like creative thinking. While your ability to whittle or paint might never come in handy in a boardroom, your ability to remain patient in the face of frustration will.

The best way to develop strategic planning skills is to work with a coach who has the expertise and experience to help you grow. Catalyst Group ECR works with individuals to help them realize their potential and experience growth in their focus areas. Through one-on-one meetings, we work with the business owner to build a sense of community and rapport that provides a foundation for growth. We would love to hear from you, and help you start your journey towards developing strategic planning skills.

Contact us Today

Contact us now for a consultation, or find out more about our custom-tailored coaching programs.
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