The Strategic Thinker

THE STRATEGIC THINKER

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FIGURE: THE STRATEGIC THINKER & THE STRATEGY NET
MODULE II: THINKING STRATEGICALLY

In 1963, just a year after Alfred Chandler introduced strategy as a business concept, French military strategist, Andre Beaufre, defined strategic thinking as, “a mental process of synthesizing both ra- tional and intuitive information.”

“The strategist,” writes Beaufre, “must have a great capacity for both analysis and synthesis; anal- ysis is necessary to assemble the information on which he makes his diagnosis; synthesis in order to produce from this information the diagnosis itself.”

The result of all this strategic thinking, Beaufre concludes, is a choice between competing alter- natives about what to do next. But Beaufre fails to tell us what’s really going on in the mind of the strategic thinker.

What specific skills and abilities are being called upon; and whether those skills and abilities can be practiced and improved.

Module II, Thinking Strategically, explores this “mental process” across three cognitive abilities: visual-spatial intelligence, critical thinking and emotional intelligence. Each serving a special role in the formulation and communication of strategic ideas. The central question of this module is: Can strategic thinking be learned? And if so, how?

AFTER MODULE II, YOU SHOULD BE ABLE TO DESCRIBE:

Visual-spatial intelligence and the ability to “see” patterns in loosely connected information.

Activities to improve the likelihood of identifying such patterns.

The need for critical thinking skills when evaluating new ideas

The types of questions good critical thinkers ask of themselves and others when faced with a new idea.

The “soft skills” that make strategists highly e ective in communicating and gaining support for new ideas.

The “Strategy Net” as a visual aid for evaluating the skills and abilities of different types of strategic thinkers.

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