So you want to be strategic…shift your mind not your job title.

bobbyblog-strategicI have had many people ask me, what does it mean to be strategic? I think it is an interesting question, one that emerges when those whom I mentor want more strategic positions.

I have spent my years serving in roles that were very tactical, executing very tactical concepts using technology where the job was dependent upon the precision of that technology. I have also learned how to shift that very tactical thinking into broader applications, preparing for long-term strategic opportunities.

During the time I was working on a large portion of my graduate research, I began to study the principles of techne and praxis.

Techne means craftsmanship or art. The intent of the word techne is the making or doing as opposed to the understanding. It is the root of ‘technique’, ‘technical’ and various other derivatives.

Praxis means thoughtful, practical doing. Aristotle, who loved to categorize various concepts, developed a three-tiered basic attributes of man scheme:

  1. theoria or theoretical with the goal of truth
  2. poiesis or doing with the goal of production
  3. praxis or practical, thoughtful doing with the goal of action.

The word praxis promotes both practice and reflection, seemingly paradoxical concepts. Combining these two elements is the genius of this word and why we find it so attractive.

I have always attributed the Greek term techne with the idea of performing a technical job, one that is tactical requiring only a skill to execute. I have also attributed the Greek word praxis with the idea of being more strategic, acting with a knowledge base that sees a larger worldview leveraging many technical skill sets to make critical decisions.

So why am I writing this? This blog post is for all those who want to become more strategic and take on more strategic roles. Being more strategic is more than taking on a job title…it is a right of passage, a movement to a different level of thinking and preparedness:

I think to fully embrace the ideas of strategic thinking, it means the following:

  1. Critical Thinking – Finds the ability to embrace both praxis and techne
  2. Strong Leadership – Leads by example not by loudness
  3. Nimble and Agile – Thinking with versatility, adjusting with forward progress in real time.
  4. Empathetic – Listen with more than the ears, listening with the heart.