• Thu. Feb 2nd, 2023

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The Basics of Strategic Thinking – Anticipation

All we do should be preceded by strategic thinking. We know that if we fail to plan, it is like planning to fail. Therefore we should put forth our best efforts to ensure our success by thinking strategically at the start of things.

It is wonderful to learn the basics of strategic thinking and then start doing it.  Strategic involves several different components. These components include:

  1. Anticipation – the ability and use of peripheral vision, the ability to think three or  more moves ahead
  2. Challenge – the act of questioning, reframing, digging into the roots of a matter
  3. Interpret -being able to figure out patterns from multiple data sources
  4. Decide – the act, if taking a stand, balancing speed and quality in making a determination
  5. Align – get all interested parties, all stakeholders with their divergent views to come  together
  6. Learn -; the ability to use failures and successes as resources to debrief and adjust thinking to action to match changing circumstances

In this article, our focus is on the first element of strategic thinking, anticipation. It is the quality of anticipation that enables us to not just get ready, but stay ready for what is to come. When our thinking becomes strategic we learn to look at what is ahead of us and consider what is coming around us. Anticipation enables our thinking to look at the future we want and the future that is likely to occur. Strategic thinking cannot happen in the absence of anticipation.


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The first part of using anticipation in your strategic thinking is to use your peripheral vision. This means that you look at what is in front of you. In other words, you look at the obvious situation you find yourself in. At the same time, you must look at what is going on around you, the things that are not quite so obvious. When you are trying strategic thinking, you must pay attention to what is going on around you. It is not possible to adequately anticipate what is going to happen if you do not have a clear idea of what is happening now.



The second part of using anticipation when doing strategic thinking is to look at things three or more moves ahead of the current situation. Look at what is in front of you, pay attention to all the details around you. Use those details to think about what will happen if you take one path. Then look at the situation that will occur if you take another path. Then, move even further and examine what the results would be if you took a third path. All these options are what make strategic thinking possible – the analysis, the preparation, the looking at options.


Keep in mind the fact that strategic thinking will lead to the best and highest quality results. When it is time for you to make decisions whether at home or at work, do the work necessary to be sure you do strategic thinking, not by the seat of your pants haphazard thinking. Stop back next week when we examine the next element of strategic thinking – challenge.



In conclusion, is wonderful to learn the basics of strategic thinking and then start doing it. So, the question for you this wonderful day is, how do you use anticipation when you think about things?


23 thoughts on “The Basics of Strategic Thinking – Anticipation”
  1. We need more strategic thinkers in the business than people just seeing one side of the coin.

  2. Being able to anticipate is a great skill. I’m working on it. I’m definitely working on it!

  3. Depending on how familiar you are with what you’re trying to tackle, you can figure out what are the things that can happen. If not then its good to know people who have or are working on the same goal so you can get guidance.

  4. Strategic thinking involves a lot of critical thinking too. I use anticipation with panic sometimes. lol! Not very healthy, maybe but I can stress myself out quite well just thinking about having to be calm 🙂

  5. I’ver never heard specifically of strategic thinking before, but love the concept. It’s so crucial to getting things done, and done well. – Katy

  6. I love the idea of strategic thinking…but never been able to pull it off properly! Loving the post, and can’t wait to read the rest!

  7. I try to anticipate but I’m not sure I quite go as far as 3 steps ahead. This is great advice which I will try hard to implement.

  8. thank you for the encouragement – I so need to put this into play!

  9. I love anticipation. It’s often the best part of anything. I’m not so good at interpreting sometimes.

  10. I always anticipate the worst case scenario. I should really anticipate all the possible outcomes instead.

  11. If I can anticipate a plan, I can set goals and make additional goals. Plus I can plan if things don’t work out they way I originally thought!

  12. I need to practice this, I think. I tend to react to what’s happening now rather than anticipate. Thanks for the boost!

  13. I try to always have a plan of action,and thinking ahead makes that possible.

  14. I always like to anticipate things that could happen and plan for all outcomes. I am a total think ahead of the game type of person.

  15. I like this segment. Thinking two or three steps ahead after you have assessed what is happening right in front of you is the important step. It’s the part of setting goals and objectives that makes all the difference in accomplishing major or minor moves. Good stuff.

  16. It is always a great idea to look ahead to help plan out what your next move will be!

  17. I can’t imagine not looking forward in life!! How can you get anything accomplished?

  18. This is a great way to think about things. It is such a smart way to go about things. Thanks for sharing!

  19. Great explanation. Wonderful and informative post!

  20. So true – being able to look forward is key!! Great post!

  21. I have even been working on strategic thinking with my kids, too. I think it’s never too young to learn.

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