My five year old daughter is learning to master the art of strategic thinking. The other day she asked me to go to Toys ‘R’ Us to get a toy. When I told her we couldn’t today, every day after that for one week, she was relentless about asking. She continually prodded me until, one day, she figured something out. I am a sucker for a little girl who does the dishes. She put all the dishes away and off we went to get a brand new $10 Hello Kitty make-up set. (I’ll post the video later of our makeover session).
But strategic thinking isn’t just about getting what you want, it’s about aligning yourself with the ultimate strategic thinker. His name is Jesus. Over and over again Jesus took strategic, wise steps on His way to the cross. What He answered, how He answered, it was all a part of a larger plan to die, spend three days in the tomb, then raise from the dead and redeem us from our sin. God’s plan is always well thought out and thorough. Our thinking, unfortunately, is easily corrupted with wrong motivations, incorrect perspectives, and a lack of insight. What was Jesus’ advantage? He was able to align Himself with the Father.
“Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 1:13
Strategic thinking is all about preparing your mind, but that isn’t easy. Got a Problem? Here are 5 keys to help you become a more strategic thinker:
5 Keys To Strategic Thinking
1. Find A Place – Do you have a place to talk to God?
Many times, people don’t think strategically because they simply fail to plan the time to think things out! They wing it, shoot from the hip and end up making all kinds of errors in execution. If you are going to think something out, you need to get away! I often schedule time to think about the issues I am facing. I go away on a long walk down a trail, carry a voice recorder and a small notebook with a pencil and put my phone on silent! Then I listen to God. When was the last time you did this?
2. Gather Your Information – Do you have all the information necessary?
Do you have the CORRECT information? Do you have a plan for your financial health? Your spiritual health? What about your marriage or even your physical health? In order to make good decisions you have to have all the information necessary to go forward. There is nothing worse then having a distorted view of current reality when you are trying to make progress. This is especially true if you are having a conflict with someone. Unreliable information just leads to more hurt!
3. Shut off the Distractions – Are there times when you are unreachable?
The more responsibility you have, the more you have to prioritize being unreachable. If you aren’t unreachable at times, you will become unbearable. Sooner or later all the stress from always being ‘on’ and never having time to process, will wear on you and the people around you. If you think you can burn both ends of the candle, the wick will catch up to you. GET AWAY FROM DISTRACTIONS! This means, the phone, the TV, The Internet, annoying people, ANYTHING that leads you to an unclear focus.
4. Begin With The End – What is the big picture?
Are you clear about what the end needs to be? If not, you have a vision problem. Start by asking God to make the vision clear, then ask for a strategy. A person with a clear vision and a proven strategy is a dangerous man! Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”
5. Get the Input of Others – Are you relying on just one perspective?
Say this slowly out loud, “I – NEED – HELP!” Good! Now that we have that settled, realize the input of others will almost always lead you to a better decision and a clearer pathway. This is because people see things differently than you. If you are in an organization, get someone with outside perspective to help you see what you don’t see.
You got this! Now get thinking!
217church is a multisite church in Mercer County NJ with small groups for families in New Jersey and Pennsylvania that meets in the Hamilton AMC24 Theater. Our new East Windsor Campus will meet at Grace Rogers School beginning October 13. If you are looking for a church in Mercer County NJ, Middlesex County or Bucks County, PA, don’t miss our weekend services in Hamilton at 9:30 or 11 am! Visit www.217church.com.