Become A Strategic Thinker with Creative Thinking Games
You’ve been told you need to become a more strategic manager. Or, maybe you’ve heard that strategic thinking will help your career. But, can someone really learn to be more “strategic”? Like any skill, strategic leadership can be learned and honed through training and – most importantly – practice.
Happily, developing a skill like critical thinking doesn’t require a gym membership to “work out” your creative muscles. Lorenzo Del Marmol of the Creative Corporate Culture blog, shares these exercises you can try any time you are facing an issue or decision on the job. At first, you’ll need to make a deliberate effort to think through the exercise’s suggestions. Over time, however, the exercises will become easier and your favorite forms of creative association will flow into your decision making processes naturally:
- Use all of your senses – Pause to take the time to soak in your environment. Touch, feel and even smell any objects that grab your notice. Then let your mind wander to your problem and see if any of these new sensations or observations generate new ideas.
- Create an analogy – Describe your problem in terms of a story, a symbol, a natural phenomenon, etc. “That client is like a tornado – he gets us going around and around and causes nothing but destruction.”
- Create a mind map – Whether you use software such as ConceptDraw or a whiteboard, a mind map can help you brainstorm quickly without worrying about structure.
- 500 Words – Write about your problem until you reach 500 words without editing or censoring yourself. Sometimes getting words out of your head and onto paper creates more room for more useful words to appear.
- Think like someone else – Role play and ask yourself, what you would do if you were Gandhi. Or Bill Gates. Or Queen Elizabeth. Or your client. And so on…
- Be contrary – Think about what most people usually do in your situation. Then imagine (or even execute) a scenario where you do exactly the opposite.
A strategic worldview can not be left at the office. Being a strategic thinker means you are always interpreting your environment creatively. To help develop that imaginative outlook, here is a list of games and online resources to rev up your brain and get those strategic thoughts flowing. You might also have a little fun, too.
- Lumosity – Lumosity currently leads the market in “professional” brain training education. You’ll have to shell out money for a subscription, but you get a customized brain training experience. A similar site, Fit brains, is created by the Rosetta Stone company and also offers a free (for creating an account) brain training option.
- Archimedes’ Laboratory – This site is packed with “Mental & Perceptual Activities that Enhance Critical and Creative Thinking Skills.”
- Brainist – Brainist is site that serves as an educational resource dedicated to online brain games. You will find articles explaining the benefits of each game on the brain.
- Top 10 Mind-bending Strategy Games – Are you the type that’s always looking for an excuse to justify that time you spend on your Xbox? This article catalogs 10 games that are strategy oriented.
- Top 20 Best Tycoon Games: Own the World – Rule the world and practice thinking strategically at the same time. This blog shares 20 games that bring out your inner “Tycoon.”
- Brainzooming – Brainzooming offers many online exercises and “questions” that demonstrate their coaching methodology. The blog-style posts include scenarios and questions in a cluttered, but information-packed presentation.
- CreativityGames.net – This site posts a new brain challenge on Monday of each week.
- Carpenter Strategy Toolbox – This site is an open source wealth of exercises and video tutorials for teaching strategic management with a class or a group.
It may be that developing your strategic thinking skill is more fun than any other skill you’ll work on!