Business people can become more proficient at strategic thinking skills through using strategic thinking exercises and tools.

We’ve seen this play out time and time again.

That’s why we don’t buy it when someone says he or she isn’t strategic. Maybe the person isn’t displaying the characteristics of strategic thinking. That doesn’t translate into not being strategic, however.


6 Characteristics of Strategic Thinking Skills vs. Tactical Thinking

If you’re an executive and make a concerted effort to support a team member with strong strategic thinking exercises and tools, what type of impact should you expect?

Here are the differences we see between the two:

A tactical thinker keeps opportunities and issue separate so they are digestible. A strategic thinker integrates these same ideas to create powerful connections.

A tactical thinker looks at what is happening at face value. A strategic thinker imagines what might be happening that isn’t readily apparent.

A tactical thinker works to fill information holes, answering one question and moving to the next without asking any other questions in between. A strategic thinker refines information to build a broad knowledge base with robust insights.

A tactical thinker is focused on checking items off a list to get it finished. A strategic thinker works to make sure the right things are on the list in the first place.

A tactical thinker is sequential, focusing on one thing followed by another. A strategic thinker is holistic, looking for the next biggest result to deliver.

A tactical thinker avoids complexity. A strategic thinker embraces possibilities.


Graphic designed by Jane Harvey http://www.visualtranslating.com/

Strategic + Tactical = Creating Strategic Impact

The strongest business people deliver on both strategy and tactics to create results.

And when it comes to results, if you want to learn about the advantages of engaging more of your team in creating strategic impact, we have just the mini-book for you

“RESULTS!!!” is a quick read mini-book designed for busy executives who want to take the first step toward smarter strategy and greater market success. Get your FREE copy today.

Then let’s talk about how to make it happen for your organization.

Download Your FREE  Results!!! Creating Strategic Impact Mini-book

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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 “6 Characteristics of Strategic Thinking Skills”

  1. SAY KENG LEE says:

    In my view, a strategic thinker always takes the helicopter perspective (or bird’s eye view) when looking at – and exploring – issues or problems or challenges at hand, while a tactical thinker often gets stuck on the ground (or worm’s eye view), seeing only the trees, rather than the entire forest, so to speak;

    Also, a strategic thinker always takes a long-term time horizon in evaluating issues or problems or challenges; while a tactical thinker is often satisfied with a short term perspective;

    A strategic thinker goes for “delayed gratification”, i.e. long haul, in contrast to a tactical thinker, who is more than happy with ”instant gratification”;

    A strategic thinker somehow has the ability to see the almost invisible, always abstract, and seemingly intangible attributes – as they say, “hidden opportunities – about what’s happening around him or her; while a tactical thinker is often obsessed with ostensibly visible, concrete and tangible stuff;

    A strategic thinker always embraces a multitudinous array of perspectives, that’s to say, his perception is very fluid and forever evolving, to accommodate the changing dynamics of the business/competitive environment, which helps in building up an acute sensory repertoire, while a tactical thinker prefers only (or maybe in most times is invariably stuck with) a singular, or worst still, a truncated, view;

    Last but not least, a strategic thinker is always an opportunity seeker, having a good nose for opportunities lurking in the horizon, while a tactical thinker is purely a problem solver, mostly within his immediate environment;

    My two cents!

  2. Susan Holden Martin MBA JD says:

    Mike, I would like to give a copy of this article to my Strategic Planning grad students. Can you send me a version that prints well?

    Love your blog!



  1. 6 Characteristics of Strategic Thinking Skills ... - May 12, 2015

    […] What are the differences between strategic and tactical thinkers? Here are six of them executives needs to be looking for to deliver the maximum results.  […]