Most organisations would agree that a hurdle many leaders have to overcome at some point in their careers is navigating the transition from being operational to working more strategically. Waiting for that moment to arrive without preparation can limit a person’s potential and generate feelings of inadequacy when it’s time to demonstrate strategic ability.

We can define strategic thinking as the mental ability to assess, imagine and create a future based on a desire to achieve the objectives of an individual, a team or an organisation.

Learning to improve this ability is beneficial for anyone, especially if you are the leader of a team or an enterprise. Understanding what strategy really means and inviting the brain to unlock its sense of curiosity and the faculty of imagination are the first steps to accessing our strategic capacities.

Katharine believes that strategic thinking requires constant improvement if we want to adjust to new realities. Time constraints, stress and work pressures usually get in the way of finding the time to allow the mind to open up to new possibilities.

Starting with self-discipline that has us finding time to wonder “what if” and learning to facilitate others in that thought process is essential if we are to entice others to support us in our strategic efforts.


Strategic thinking can be learned, but the brain has to be in a condition where it can experience intuition and creativity, and most of our western business practices and learning do not understand how we can do that.

The best strategic thinking occurs when the brain is ready — accessing its deep theta and delta waves in ways that see new patterns, new possibilities and new horizons that may not have been seen again.  Strategies cannot be developed on schedule or immaculately conceived.

Strategic thinking flourishes in organisations that embrace ideas originating from anywhere, have transparent and well-known pathways for the capitalisation of those ideas and know that failure is one of the critical steps to any good strategic process.

These organisations entice their people at all levels to see the “bigger picture”  — especially from the customer’s view so that people at all levels are constantly thinking about how to serve their customers more effectively than ever before.

This thinking not only requires us to develop brains that are wired for creativity and intuition but it also requires brains that can experience empathy for the customer.

Strategy without operational excellence is a dream. Operational excellence without strategy is a nightmare.

Published on:
21 September 2015
Silvia Damiano

Silvia Damiano

Founder & CEO
About my Brain Institute

Scientist, educator, author, speaker, coach, award-winning leadership specialist, filmmaker and creator of the i4 Neuroleader Model & Methodology.

Silvia's scientific background and curiosity about the human brain led her to a decade long journey of research into optimal brain functioning and the application of neuroscience in leadership and daily life. Her past and current roles have uniquely prepared her for the current undertaking, that of leadership activist & change agent.

Silvia Damiano founded The About my Brain Institute in 2009, with the purpose of democratising leadership & neuroscience. She has a passionately held belief, that leaders in our 21st century global economy and their organisations must radically change long-held ideas of what constitutes effective leadership

In her ground-breaking books ‘Leadership is Upside Down’, ‘Brain-Friendly Leadership’ and the 2018 documentary ‘Make Me A Leader’, Silvia provides both compelling evidence and explores the importance of leadership in our personal and professional lives and what it takes to develop the human behind the leader.

Silvia has worked in different countries, across many industries, helping teams and organisations improve business performance. Silvia’s clients have described her as a passionate, dynamic, a highly experienced speaker and master facilitator on the topics of Emotional Intelligence, Cultural Change, Neuroleadership & Engagement.

Silvia is passionate about leaving a legacy of well-rounded leaders who can act and decide in a way that better serves humanity. Her clients include Microsoft, Australian Stock Exchange, NSW Government, VISA, Fuji Xerox and Manpower amongst many other global companies.

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