One of the most misused concepts in business is the idea of being “strategic.” It often pops up on performance reviews as in, “You need to become more strategic,” but when pressed for additional information, your manager may have difficulty defining exactly what “being strategic” actually means. However, they know it when they see it!
At its most basic, being strategic is the ability to distinguish what you (or the business) should do from what you could do. The strategic person is able to focus on the overall objective, sort through the available data, make inferences, and draw conclusions in order to arrive at their recommendation. That is what being strategic is all about—proactive choices versus reactive responses. Naturally, we advocate for strategic thinking when focusing on your career as well.