It’s an all-too-common plaint we’ve heard among colleagues:  Got anyone who thinks strategically?

More to the point, it’s not an easy skill set to teach.  Though we know it’s highly valued, not only by our peers but also by the universe at large:  97 percent  of senior execs surveyed last year by a market research firm agree it’s the most important attribute for organizational success. 

Sure, MBA schools list strategy courses – and claim they produce these futuristic thinkers.  There are strategic officers and strategy firms galore.  But, where in our business – of communications, design, and branding – are these practitioners?

Let’s start with the learning, agreeing that (for the purpose of this blog) thinkers can be made, and not born. 

There’s the immersive approach, where information on every facet of the corporation – customers, market, industry, suppliers, et al. – is shared to provide in-depth understanding and a wider range of information. 

Then there’s the Jack Welch approach, pairing up a known mature thinker with one who’s fairly new to the business.

Or there’s the reward point of view, ensuring that those who think strategically (and their products) are recognized.

All of those paths might prove successful.  Yet there’s another idea that has us applauding:  Surround yourself with those who look at the world differently, while questioning your own opinions.  It’s only by exposing ourselves to out-of-the-way ideas that we’ll design the actions that give our enterprises sustainable competitive advantage.  Armed with a good knowledge of the business as well as a world perspective, professionals can reframe and challenge current mindsets with a good strategy or two.

Or, in simple terms, diversity makes the strategy go ‘round.