Where do Strategic Thinking & Emotional Intelligence Meet?

These are two terms that are not very well understood. In my opinion, and I am about to upset those who fasten to old academic paradigms, they ought to be studied in high school as valid and important academic subjects, much more than the revered Math and Physics. Strategic Thinking and Emotional Intelligence are essential for living a balanced and stressless life, while effectively managing your every day tasks…Math and Physics, with all due respect, do not.

It is important to understand right from the start that Emotional Intelligence addresses the fact that there are Intelligent Emotions and also that there is Intelligence that accompanies Emotions. This in itself is “out of the box” way of thinking. Using your emotions intelligently will enable you to be the leader of your life and control your destiny. Being emotionally erratic will get you into trouble, forever a follower of outside circumstances. 

Orderly thinking is the Siamese twin of balanced emotions and will enable you to make wise long term and short term decisions. The two together are a winning formula for success.

What are Intelligent Emotions?

Emotions can be divided into two categories, positive and negative. Emotional Intelligence therefore, is the kind of emotions that when applied, make things happen in the best possible way. In other words Intelligent Emotions have the capacity to inspire & to motivate.

Studies show, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that when positive emotions are applied in an intelligent way they cause much better all-around results and increase the level of effectiveness as much as 900% (Nine Hundred Percent)!

For example, if you are a manager and have people who report to you, if you show them respect (high level of Emotional Intelligence positive) they will respect you back. What you then cause is a professional environment where the essence of respect has a home.  The nature of respect gives people a sense of presence, which they appreciate, because they don’t get much of it anywhere else. By giving them a sense of presence they naturally tend to take responsibility and self-ownership and produce extra effort on the job, not just perfunctory. The intelligent part is that you decide to show them respect first (it is important to study the different expressions of respect).

Curiously, the word respect if looked at creatively consists of two parts; re-spect, which could be explained as, to look again at something, or a person or whatever, and it makes sense doesn’t it?

If you look at something a new all over again you can appreciate it better. By re-specting something, a person or a co-worker, you literally give them a freedom from preconditions and pre-judgments. And when people are freed in this way they respond in a likewise manner. This is just a brief example of what Emotional Intelligence or the application of intelligent emotions can do.

In a sharp contrast, negative emotions tend to do the exact opposite. They institute control by fear tactics and the result of that, is very often, that people become “sheepish” and certainly not creative! Because who wants to be creative if they can’t make natural mistakes, and get punished for their imperfections?

So the consequence of using negative emotions as a means of getting people to get quick results is only ever short term. In the long term all it gets is unwillingness and bitterness. This is not a good strategy for Excellence!

Where does Strategic Thinking come into the picture?

OK, so, using our analogy of respect lets re-spect Strategic Thinking and look at it again through Creative Thinking eyes to make sure we are all on the same page. To be strategic is to think ahead.

In other words, to be in the future before it happens through our mind’s capabilities. So Strategic Thinking is the kind of thinking that thinks ahead with clarity of mind, therefore considering facts, learning to separate facts from fiction, (which is not such an easy thing to do given the overall tendency to jump to quick conclusions based on past experience), understanding what consequences may be caused by this or that decision, differentiating between short term and long term, and so on and so forth… These aspects are an integral part of the The Thinking Coach Strategic Thinking Seminars.

Now, back to our point of focus, which is - where do Strategic Thinking and Emotional Intelligence meet? The answer is simple to understand but more difficult to apply.

It is to do with pre-thinking and pre-planning the kind of emotions that belong with any given task. Let’s take a range of Intelligent Emotions and understand the kind of “menu” that we have to select from:

§  Care

§  Belief

§  Trust

§  Respect

§  Support

§  Warmth

§  Active interested listening

§  Sincerity

§  Consideration of people’s difficulties

§  Empathy

§  Communicating in a way that the other person can absorb the meaning of your message

§  Humbleness

§  Generosity

§  Kindness

§  Patience

§  The right kind of Firmness

§  Exactness

§  Leading by example

And the list goes on….

Quick question: how many of these emotional intelligence ingredients do you consciously put to practice? If you do... that's great! You are being a true professional. If, however, you don't, do realize that you are shortchanging your own potential for excellence.  

You can take each of these qualities and decide to institute them inside whatever you do through the process of Strategic Thinking and Strategic Planning, then project it forward (providing your preparation is high caliber professional) and meet what you projected on the given day, you’d be surprised what response a simple message can cause in people. Here is the key point, if done right they will respond to the emotion you inserted in the message in your Strategic Thinking preparation.

Many people know this intellectually, yet very few ever put it to practice.

There is much more that can be written on this intricate issue than in this short article.

In The Thinking Coach™ Professional Corporate Training Seminars you will receive the kind of professional Strategic Thinking training that is second to none, which will take this aspect of Strategic Thinking & Emotional Intelligence and synergize them in a way that you can easily apply a whole new set of skills that will catapult you to the next level.

On a final note, you may wish to contemplate the following statement: 

If you change the way you look at things, (including yourself) the things you look at change!


Eli Harari

The Thinking Coach™