Strategic: Finding Multiple Paths

The strategic theme from the strategic thinking domain is a specific way of thinking that allows an individual to see relevant patterns, remove ambiguity and obstacles, and quickly create multiple pathways or alternatives. It is a very distinct way of seeing the world.

Those with the strategic theme are curious and muse about the goals to be achieved. The strategic theme is about being prepared for the possibility of changes en route to the destination. Gallup has a very specific definition of strategic. Strategic is about sorting through clutter, noticing patterns, and being able to sort very quickly to the best route forward. Gallup stresses that it isn’t a skill that can be taught. People with high strategic tend to notice patterns and then can quickly play out alternatives and consequences. The speed at which people with the strategic strength can consider, discard, or choose can be disarming and even confusing to many. The strategic thinker uses an extremely quick sorting process and strong intuition to arrive at the best possible solution.

Strategic teachers are talented at figuring out the best way to evaluate curriculum, identify program weaknesses, implement new ideas, or improve school climate. When change is desired, a strategic thinker is desirable! They are naturally attracted to counselling, problem solving, innovation, change, and start-ups. They love the challenge of determining the best way to ensure that the most meaningful learning occurs.

In the community and parish, strategic thinkers are often found in situations where difficult situations need to be addressed or important planning needs to occur.

Students who are strong in the strategic theme benefit from problem solving activities and project based learning where they have the ability to demonstrate and exercise their innovative abilities. They are intellectually and emotionally engaged by complexity and solution finding. They also require direct instruction in knowing how to explain their thinking process to others. Thanks to the fact that they are so quick, others might be put off and even feel threatened by their decisiveness. Helping them to learn to communicate how and why they arrive at decisions is critical for them to be able to work with others because they are essential to any team!

Never be Afraid to be the Best You! by Jean Fauchon

Jean Fauchon, teacher at John Paul II Collegiate, is one of the kindest and humblest humans that I know. So, many are surprised by his competitive strength. If you want something accomplished he’s your man! There is very little that he can’t do. He’s a published author, nationally recognized coach and official, award winning teacher, accomplished traveler, and, did I mention, an AMAZING human! Learn more about how he uses his competitive strength in this video.

Competition: Growth, Improvement & Innovation

Competition is a means of measuring and comparing performance. It is dependent on other people participating which is why the competition theme is from the influencing domain. Individuals with the competition strength count on others to push performance and improve outcomes. They inspire others to strive for more and greater results. This pursuit of excellence can be contagious and motivating. It is essential for continuous improvement in the classroom or in any organization.

Those who are truly high in the competition theme want to and like to win. They might enjoy a friendly competition but they generally don’t compete for fun and might even avoid tasks if they don’t believe they can win. For this reason, encouraging them to identify daily measures of success will help them to stay motivated, engaged, and seeking the win. Like the achiever who enjoys crossing things off a list, the competitor enjoys accomplishing task to improve performance and can help others to do the same.

In the classroom, this teacher becomes a good coach who is capable of helping everyone experience success. This teacher ensures that all learners understand well and perform at high levels. This teacher will work with each learner to make sure that the whole class triumphs. For this reason, high stakes assessment or performance tasks don’t intimidate this teacher. S/he can be counted on to rise to the challenge and prepare students.

Students high in the competitive strength are driven to be the best. As a result, they benefit from learning how to set appropriate goals and how to determine what is most important. Developing strategies and tools to deal with disappointment, to motivate others without judgment, and to persist in the face of defeat are key to ensuring that the competitive strength is used to create a culture of excellence rather than an environment of judgement and demands. In athletics, this is know as sportsmanship but in the classroom or other contexts it’s about developing a virtuous character to inspire and boost others in order to grow, improve, and innovate.