“(Thinking strategically) involves recognizing trends and challenging assumptions while maintaining a global view of situations and an affinity toward embracing change.” This is a quote from Jill Fowler, SPHR, and Jeanette Savage (October, 2011) in writing about managing smart. According to them, strategic thinking is a skill that you must develop and continue to use to “have the ability to adapt more easily to unforeseen changes.”
As my tagline says, your career is your business and you have to manage it like one. Having in mind this parallelism, I believe that it is imperative always to think strategically when managing your career. Here are some ways to nurture your strategic thinking in looking out for your career growth:
- Always consider the long future. Yes, you need to pay the bills now but never lose sight of your long-term career goals. Think of how you could position yourself to continuously grow and develop while you are making a living.
- Be aware of what is going on in the world (current issues) and how they are changing the trends in the world of work. Keep current with professional memberships. Take the time to read something new each day. Development in technology is pushing the boundaries and the speed of change. Know how they will affect your work and career.
- Think big picture. How is the current trajectory of your career leading you to your long-term goal? How did you grow from the last several years and what past actions or career decisions worked in your favour? What did not work? How did it not work? What capacities and resources do you have that will work for or against you?
- Keep your ears open to what is going on internally in your organization. Be attuned to new developments, and opportunities that become available. Remember that problems that may arise are actually opportunities turned inside out. A problem or a crisis is a chance to step up to the plate and get your budding skill or competency recognized.
- Be ready and willing to change and get out of your comfort zone when opportunities arise. Being nimble in your career calls for the ability to be ready and prepared when the right break comes along. Having a set of criteria in your career development helps in making a quick decision if you are going to consider seriously an opportunity or not.