Welcome to Today. Today's Leadership and Personal Development tip deals with Strategic Thinking.
Maxim: When all seems lost, find another way. Think strategically.
I love the game of chess. Although I do not play it as much as I would like, it is still one of my favorite games. It forces me to think strategically if I want to win. It is also a good tool help my offspring and others to think beyond the current move. In life, we need to think beyond the current circumstances. Leaders know this. They understand the need to think through the immediate results of their decisions, long term effects, and potential unintended consequences. This is why creating various solutions to a problem is paramount.
Perhaps you are facing a dilemma and there appears to be no solution in sight. In this case, you may tell yourself strategic thinking is good but if there is no solution, what good is it? Good question. I submit to you there is a solution. You have yet to discover what it is, but it does exist. Thomas Edison failed hundreds of time before inventing the light bulb. How many other times had he failed before becoming successful? Not only did he persevere, he was a strategic thinker. Strategic thinkers know a solution exists. It's just a matter of time before the "Eureka" moment.
To illustrate the point, I'm reminded of a story shared by Dr. Tony Evans. In an art gallery in London hangs a portrait of a chess game entitled “Checkmate.” On one side of the chessboard is the devil, full of laughter. His hand is posed, ready to make the next move. On the other side of the chessboard sits a shaking, frightened young man. Sweat drips down his forehead mixed with tears pouring from his eyes.
One day, a chess champion from another country visited the gallery. The painting naturally caught his attention causing him to examine it for a very long time. In fact, while others had moved on throughout the gallery, the chess champion remained fixated on the game and the devil who was about to make the next move to steal this man’s soul.
Hours passed as the chess champion continued to study the board from every possible angle. The sweat on the young man’s face begged him to continue. Finally, as the gallery was about to close for the night, people in every part of the enormous building heard a loud scream as the chess champion yelled, “Yes! I’ve got it! You don’t’ have to lose!”
What this chess champion had done was discover another move that the man could take. He had found a way not only for the young man to escape “checkmate” but to deliver “checkmate” on the devil in only a few more moves into the game.
This is a great illustration. The chess champion had the "Eureka" moment. There are times when you and I will need to seek help to discover a solution to whatever challenge we may face. In the meantime, learn to think strategically by thinking logically, creatively, and differently. Think from a position of victory (solution oriented) rather than defeat. When we approach a problem the same way every time we should expect the same results.
There are many books on strategic thinking. One that I recommend is by Simon Wootton and Terry Horne aptly named Strategic Thinking. Brian Tracy offers a course entitled Accelerated Learning Techniques. Remember, whatever you are working on, there is a solution. Keep persevering and think it through.
Are you ready for success? It's yours. Go get it. Like the chess champion, study the painting (the problem, challenge, or difficulty), focus on it, and allow your inner creativity to find a solution. All is not lost. Sometimes we need a chess champion (expert or someone more experienced) to come alongside us to provide a helping hand.
If you need help in this area, please contact me. Let me help bring out the best in you and/or your organization.
That's it for now. Until the next tip....