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Strategic Thinkers Ask “Why” and “When”

April 4, 2014

The Coaching ClinicEncouraging routine strategic thinking may be the most important thing you can do as a leader. It’s not an easy skill to teach or learn, because it is as much a mindset as a set of techniques – but it’s not impossible – especially if you apply a simple 5-step conversation model. One key is to ask powerful discovery questions. Using this 5-step conversation model consistently will reinforce a common conversation approach at all levels in the organization. Consider these ways to cultivate strategic thinkers (since they often make the most highly effective leaders):

  • Encourage people to ask “why” and “when.” Consistently asking these whenever a course of action is being considered enables people to fully understand the goal it aims to achieve and its impact.
  • Have managers set aside time for strategic planning discussions. Make it a regular part of their job, and connect them with mentors who excel at strategic thinking.
  • Keep people informed on what is happening in your organization and in your industry. This will help elevate their thinking beyond the day-to-day.

Another benefit of the 5-step conversation model, when incorporated into the culture of the organization, is that it increases problem-solving skills at the individual level. Managers who have been the “go to” problem solver in the past can elevate their impact by enabling employees to be problem solvers. The 5-step conversation model allows the manager to focus on development and engagement of the employee.

The 5-Step Conversation Model

  1. Establish Focus
  2. Discover Possibilities
  3. Plan Actions
  4. Remove Barriers
  5. Recap

The Nielson Group offers a two-day Manager training program that is highly effective in turning managers into experts using this conversation model. A one-day Executive program is also available.

Let’s discuss your needs:


2 Comments leave one →
  1. lizstincelli permalink
    April 4, 2014 5:25 pm

    Reblogged this on lizstincelli and commented:
    Five easy steps to avoid misunderstandings.



  1. Discovery Questioning – A Skill Used to Create More Powerful Conversations | Talent Management Strategist

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