Become A Strategic Thinker with Creative Thinking Games

You probably wear many hats as a leader in your organization. In fact, we’re sure it’s easy to get bogged down by all the different roles you play. Additionally, you may feel overwhelmed by the minutiae and repetitive tasks associated with your job.

If this describes your situation, we encourage you to hit the pause button for a moment. Consider how you spend your time each day and determine if those actions help you hit your high-level goals for the company.

For example, you may be approving your employee’s expense reports in record time. But are you doing anything to encourage innovation, experimentation and free-thinking in the workplace?

You may be logging into your Zoom calls, answering your hundreds of emails and completing the required tasks to ensure that your business is functioning as it should. However, what are you doing to ensure that you will be ready to face tomorrow’s business decisions?

If you feel that you are spending too much time on emails and other low-level tasks. We would like to help. Schedule some time each week to learn how to be more of a strategic thinker.

Let’s learn what it means to be a strategic thinker. We will also give you some ideas for strategic thinking exercises to help you approach work with a real strategy in mind. Finally, we will provide you with some resources to share with your fellow leaders and employees to encourage creativity and strategic thinking at all levels of your company.

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What is a Strategic Thinker?

As the name implies, strategic thinking involves creating a strategy to solve a problem. If you are a strategic thinker, you see the big picture, plan ahead and put your thoughts into action. When done well, the result of strategic thinking is to gain a competitive advantage in your business. And additionally, you may learn how to streamline your tasks so that you can spend more time with those you love.

Perhaps you’ve been told you need to become a more strategic manager. Maybe you’ve heard that strategic thinking will help your career. But can someone really learn to be more “strategic”?

The good news is that, like any skill, strategic leadership can be learned and honed through training and – most importantly – practice.

How to Become a Strategic Thinker

Before you learn how to become a strategic thinker in the workplace, you may need to review your organization’s mission, goals, objectives and structure. In addition, you might need to look at the measurement tools used to show that your goals and objectives have been met.

While reviewing this crucial data and “big picture” items doesn’t ensure that you will automatically be a strategic thinker, it’s the first step of the process.

Once you have reviewed your organization’s high-level goals, you are ready to complete some exercises that encourage creativity and innovation. These exercises may help you look at your work from a unique perspective so that you can evaluate your company’s current strategies.

Exercises to Become a Strategic Thinker

We all have different learning styles. If it has been a while since you have explored this concept, consider taking a learning style quiz to see how you best learn. This may help you choose a strategic thinking exercise that will work best for you (whether you are an auditory or kinesthetic learner.)

Lorenzo Del Marmol of the Creative Corporate Culture blog shares these exercises you can try any time you face 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 strategies 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 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 valuable words to appear.
  • Think like someone else – Roleplay 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.[1]

A strategic worldview cannot be left at the office. Being a strategic thinker means you are constantly 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 with these exercises!

  • 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 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.”
  • Top 10 Mind-Bending Strategy Games – Are you the type who is always looking for an excuse to justify that time you spend on your Xbox? This article catalogs ten strategy-oriented games that could increase your creativity and strategic thinking skills.
  • 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 the company’s 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. Start your week strong by waking up your brain with a creative challenge.

Group Games

  • 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.
  • Team Building Kits – Team Building Kits is an immersive mystery game designed to combine fun and bonding with teamwork productivity.
  • Corporate Castaways – Corporate Castaways is an outdoor team-building activity. Groups will be asked to tackle physical and mental challenges and compete in a competition inspired by the “Survivor.” This team-building exercise will be one that your employees will talk about for years.

It may be that developing your strategic thinking skill is more fun than any other skill you’ll work on!

How Pryor Learning Can Help You Become a Strategic Thinker

While we have certainly given you actionable strategies to become a more strategic thinker in the workplace, the next step in the process is a doozy. How do you apply what you have learned in these strategic thinking exercises to create a more purpose-driven workplace?

 

Thankfully, Pryor Learning has been helping business leaders become more creative and strategic for decades. Here are three ways that Pryor Learning can help.

 

Begin the learning process by enrolling in Strategic Goal Setting. In this course, you’ll learn how to successfully set, plan and accomplish your goals. From setting individual goals to working within the framework of a team environment, we’ll help you get past both internal roadblocks and external issues that may have hindered you in the past.

 

Once you have established your goals, learn more about team leadership in Creative Leadership. One of the goals of this class is that you will learn how to encourage strategic thinking from your employees. While at the same time, you’ll learn to be more creative in solving problems and building morale.

 

Finally, we encourage you to enroll in Strategic Problem Solving for Better Decision Making. There, you will learn

  • The difference between making a decision and developing a strategy
  • Five benefits of strategic problem solving
  • Six habits of strategic thinkers
  • How to strategically think about tomorrow’s business decisions
  • A 7-step approach to strategic problem solving

 

Since 1970, Pryor Learning has helped more than 13 million people and 3 million businesses reach their career goals by offering comprehensive, affordable and convenient business, compliance and safety training. Pryor Learning provides training for individuals as well as teams in 20 different categories, including strategic thinking strategies.

Learn more about how Pryor can help you develop critical thinking strategies by visiting Pryor’s website.

How Pryor Learning Can Help You Become a Strategic Thinker

While we have certainly given you actionable strategies to become a more strategic thinker in the workplace, the next step in the process is a doozy. How do you apply what you have learned in these strategic thinking exercises to create a more purpose-driven workplace?

Thankfully, Pryor Learning has been helping business leaders become more creative and strategic for decades. Here are three ways that Pryor Learning can help.

Begin the learning process by enrolling in Strategic Goal Setting. In this course, you’ll learn how to successfully set, plan and accomplish your goals. From setting individual goals to working within the framework of a team environment, we’ll help you get past both internal roadblocks and external issues that may have hindered you in the past.

Once you have established your goals, learn more about team leadership in Creative Leadership. One of the goals of this class is that you will learn how to encourage strategic thinking from your employees. While at the same time, you’ll learn to be more creative in solving problems and building morale.

Finally, we encourage you to enroll in Strategic Problem Solving for Better Decision Making. There, you will learn

  • The difference between making a decision and developing a strategy
  • Five benefits of strategic problem solving
  • Six habits of strategic thinkers
  • How to strategically think about tomorrow’s business decisions
  • A 7-step approach to strategic problem solving

Since 1970, Pryor Learning has helped more than 13 million people and 3 million businesses reach their career goals by offering comprehensive, affordable and convenient business, compliance and safety training. Pryor Learning provides training for individuals as well as teams in 20 different categories, including strategic thinking strategies.

Learn more about how Pryor can help you develop critical thinking strategies by visiting Pryor’s website.

[1] http://www.creativecorporateculture.com/creativity-exercises-improve-lateral-thinking/

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1 Comment

  • Rachel says:

    There are some interesting tips to train your brain. I like the idea of pretending you’re someone else. I remember doing this a lot as a kid, but I can imagine why it would be helpful as an adult. Thanks for sharing!