There is so much content swimming around out there on seemingly every topic where you might ever want to learn more. With the pressure many people feel to stay current on new information, you would hope you are getting the most from the time you invest in reading all this content.

How do you maximize the value from your precious reading time?


10 Strategic Thinking Questions to Maximize Business Reading

I was fortunate to learn early from an expert in secondary research how to mine content for insights, clues, and big ideas. Here are ten strategic thinking questions that make sure you get the most from your reading:

  • What agrees with what I think/know?
  • What disagrees with what I think/know? Am I misguided or lacking information on this topic?
  • What experts are mentioned? Do these experts have other worthwhile content to review?
  • What are the big themes in the article?
  • How do the big themes relate to big themes emerging from other content?
  • What questions would we I to learn more or recreate the learnings presented here?
  • How does anything in this content shed new light on what I think/know?
  • How does anything in this content make me rethink what I thought I knew?

You may not ask all these strategic thinking questions about everything you read. When you are looking for new ideas, however, come back to this list. These strategic thinking questions will serve you well.  – Mike Brown

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Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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3 Responses to “10 Strategic Thinking Questions to Maximize Business Reading”

  1. John Bennett says:

    Your list is very much aligned with how to identify, use, and organize material for what I refer to as “Considering.” I particularly like “Am I misguided or lacking information on this topic?” from the second bullet. Given the polarization that exists on virtually every topic today, only by understanding the full spectrum of thinking on any topic, can anyone answer that question… Can you imagine how much better things would be in this country and around the world if this question were routinely asked???

    As quite frequently is the case, the late Stephen Covey said it well: “Seek first to understand and then to be understood!!!”

  2. Mike Brown says:

    I knew you’d have a comment for this post, John! The question about lacking information ties directly to yesterday’s post about incorporating challenger voices. If you’re not willing to admit you might not know or understand everything, there would be no reason to incorporate challengers.

    And I think Covey borrowed that idea from the writer of the Peace Prayer of St. Francis: “…O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand…”

    • John Bennett says:

      I’m sure you are right about the source. What I heard / read on a few occasions from Covey that what he advocated was not typically new. What was new was the way he expressed them and organized them. I presume he went on to acknowledging those sources but I honestly don’t know if he did as I concentrated on his messages only.