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What are the 10 must have strategic thinking skills to win unfairly in life?

10 strategies and tactics to win in any negotiations

“Are you a winner?

Do you know that real winners think strategically versus tactically, transactionally, or opportunistically?

How can you win “unfairly”? Why do some folks seem to win in life always and are better at everything they do? Does it seem unfair to you? What is your strategy in life to win? Do you have a me gal modal of how to win in your personal or business life?

I use the terms “unfairly” on purpose. These folks that win consistently have the tools and resources to win,  hence I use the term “unfairly”. One of the key tools that they apply to win life is to be good strategic thinkers. You don’t necessarily have to go to an Ivy League business school to learn these skills. I am happy to share here the important strategic thinking skills that are required for you to win or succeed in life.

Whether you are an individual, a small business, or a large corporate employee, in this short blog and video,  I will guide you to the “secrets” and the skills required to apply strategic thinking in your important decisions to win in your everyday life.  It does not matter if these strategic thinking skills are applied in your everyday life, for personal development, or for business leadership. Remember that one of the principal hallmarks of good leadership whether in a business or personal situation is to have the right strategic thinking skills.

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Most people do not possess these strategic thinking tools nor the skills to think strategically. They think that they do. What they don’t realize is that they are not being strategic but what they are doing is being opportunistic, transactional, or tactical.

First a few words about myself – My name is John Lincoln and I am the author of a book called “Connect the dots” – a playbook to help you connect to your customers and profits.

During my leadership of many businesses, I have not only applied these skills for my personal development or for generating new ideas or for lading the businesses that I was in charge if.

I have also hired and led sales and marketing teams of over 1,000+ people just like you and have applied these strategic thinking skills to beat my competition in many countries. I have also applied these skills in dealing with employees, suppliers, partners, and internal customers and departments.

Along the way, I was blessed to live, work and run or contributed significantly to run billion-dollar businesses with major brands in the USA, Japan, UK, India, Malaysia, UAE (Dubai), Saudi Arabia, Brazil, and Thailand. I have applied many of the ideas and thoughts on leadership and strategic thinking during my entire career to win and succeed in life.

You can find out more about me at my website Or on LinkedIn at

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So we are back to the important topic of strategic thinking skills. You MUST have strategic thinking capabilities to navigate and win or succeed in life. These strategic thinking skills are necessary not just for your personal development or it does not matter if you are a business leader.

Most folks think that they are applying strategic thinking to their business or personal situations. What they are in fact doing is that they are just being reactive to situations. They might not realize that they are just reacting to situations. The real winners have unfair tools to win by thinking strategically. These winning situations can be in any major or important situations in your life or business.

Before we start, be aware that strategic thinking as a word is often misused, misunderstood, and often misconstrued with critical thinking and or with strategic planning. I will not dwell in this blog and video on the differences between critical thinking, strategic planning, and strategic thinking. Both critical thinking and strategic planning will be a topic for another day.

For now remember that at the core, in strategic planning, the future is specifiable and predictable versus in strategic thinking, only the SHAPE of the future can be predicted. Critical thinking is a subset or a toolset for strategic thinking. I will have a detailed blog and video on critical thinking. For now, just remember that critical thinking is the analysis of facts to arrive at a decision or judgment.

So back to the topic of strategic thinking. First, we need to ask why we need strategic thinking skills to win in life. Strategic thinking skills are a must to develop a personal or business strategy that is practical, integrated, coherent, and one that the world enables a framework for personal or business decisions to achieve an objective. These decisions include the business or personal development roadmap as to how we reach our desired objectives. Applying strategic thinking skills will help us to prioritize the allocation of personal or business resources for maximum and optimal outcomes whether it’s for our business or personal development.

So here are the top 10 ways that you apply strategic thinking to lead and win unfairly in your every day life. Again, each of this aspects or skills apply to you as individuals or as companies. Every day, you need to think and ask yourself as to how you develop your strategic thinking skills. This is not just a one off exercise. You should have a purposeful sense if and whether you are applying strategic mindset in all your important business or personal development activities.

10 must have strategic thinking skills

  1. Learn to prioritize your business and personal development focus and activities. Not everything in life needs equal attention or weight. Remember that 80% of the stuff in business or personal life that you do is just “noise”.
  2. You need to be intent and outcome-focused. You should be extremely determined and less distracted than anyone else who is doing what you are doing or are competing with you – remember again – this applies to you as a person or as a business. It does not matter if you are applying intent and outcome-focused on personal or business ideas.
  • What this essentially means is that you should use all your energies and resist distractions as long as it is required to win and achieve a business or personal goal.
  1. You must always question all assumptions and previously held beliefs. Take a blank sheet of paper and question why! Again, any idea, whether it’s business or personal development, you will have to question why!
  2. Learn to say “no” and to question “why not?” – one of the hallmarks of strategic thinking skills is not to that assume others have thought through! This applies whether it’s a new idea in business or your personal life.
  3. You must learn to visualize and think through multiple scenarios. These scenarios should include the good, the bad and the ugly. Remember that the world is not a bed of roses. It does not matter whether you are in a leadership position or not. It does not matter if it’s for business or personal development. Always have multiple scenarios and outcome views on any situation. This way you are better prepared.
  1. You must master and internalize the art of reflection and introspection. This will require you to consciously think about all your business and personal experiences, actions, feelings, and responses.
  1. You should be “hypothesis-driven”. Good strategic thinking leaders always force themselves to think through the best hypothesis to any business or personal problem or situation.
  1. You should have intelligent opportunism – This might sound like a big word. All it really means is that as a good strategic thinking practitioner, you should be able to critically analyze and be alert and responsive to good personal and business opportunities that come your way.
  1. You should be able to “think in time” – This is a very important skill to remember – in essence, this will require you to combine your thinking of the past, present, and future at the same time so that you can make better business or personal decisions. This will help you find ways to execute anything that you are doing in your business or personal life much faster. Also, be aware that many strategic thinking “experts” that I know mistakenly think that strategic thinking is driven by future intent only
  1. Last but not least, you must have an end-to-end systems perspective. In strategic thinking, you need to have a mental model of an  end to end system of incremental value creation for your personal or business life. This in essence will require you to have a clear understanding of your role  and all  the other capabilities required within each of those personal or business systems.

So there you have it. You have now developed a set of skills to demonstrate a strategic thinking mindset. You know what is strategic thinking. And you can apply these strategic thinking skills to any of your business per personal life issues or problems. So go out and be a winner and have a strategic mindset in whatever you do. You know how many examples of strategic thinking and how and why it’s applied!

This is the only blog and or video that you will see where strategic thinking skills are combined and explained in an easy to understand way. Most of you might be unconsciously applying some of these skills in your business or personal life.  That does not make you a strategic thinker.

A strategic thinker is structured, purposeful, and deliberate and connects the dots of the past, the present and the future to have a winning outcome in your business or personal life.

Always remember what my favorite strategist, the ancient Chinese admiral Sun Tzu said “Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat”

So don’t be defeated. Be a winner always. Go out and confidently win in any personal or business situation in life. Knowing these tools will certainly give you a head start and put you in an “unfair” advantage whether you are trying to develop personally or commercially.

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