Strategic thinking is critical for project managers

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014 By Jack Nevison

Great leaders think strategically every day. It's more than just an exercise—it is critical to success.

Writing for the Harvard Business Review, contributor Robert Kabacoff argues that this is one of the most important steps any team leader can take. He cites a study compiled by the Management Research Group (MRG) in 2013, which investigated the leadership practices of 60,000 managers around the world. Measuring 22 separate "leadership practices" and 20 "measures of effectiveness." The study concluded that among all of these behaviors and attributes, the strategic approach to leadership was the biggest contributor to the perception of effectiveness.

"Strategic leaders take a broad, long-range approach to problem-solving and decision-making that involves objective analysis, thinking ahead, and planning," Kabacoff writes. "That means being able to think in multiple time frames, identifying what they are trying to accomplish over time and what has to happen now, in six months, in a year, in three years, to get there."

He advises managers to set aside time to make strategic planning a high priority. The best way to get the ball rolling may be to work with a mentor, or to seek out training programs that will encourage this kind of thinking—until it becomes second nature.

At New Leaf Project Management, we offer a number of online activities and training programs, such as "Leading the Project Team" and "Project Portfolio Management: Managing the Business Challenge of Multiple Projects." Our QPM games let you learn while you earn affordable PDUs for PMP recertification.

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