Strategic Thinking and Systems Thinking
An Integrated Line of Business of The Haines Centre for Strategic Management

Strategic Thinking and Systems Thinking

Systems Thinking = Strategic Thinking = Critical Thinking

Strategic Thinking is also called Systems Thinking, critical thinking, solutions thinking, future and forward thinking, longer term thinking, and high level thinking.

It is not analytic thinking, which is tactical, mechanistic, reductionistic, and either/or thinking, parts oriented, one best way. (See our Strategic Versus Tactical Thinking/Planning chart.)


Because Systems Thinking focuses on relationships, multiple outcomes, holism and boundaries, the environment, the larger system, and feedback.

Strategic Thinking is about clarity and simplicity, meaning and purpose, focus and direction, relationships and feedback, and desired outcomes. (See Strategic Thinking Defined and our Four Levels of Strategic Thinking.)

In Summary, Strategic Thinking and Systems Thinking:

  1. Has a Scientific Foundation: The way to think is Systems Thinking. See our Systems Thinking Research Bibliography
  2. Has many Applications:
    1. Strategic Planning–overall direction.
    2. Strategic Thinking–daily, based on overall direction.
    3. Strategic Management:
      • Is a Yearly Cycle of how to run a business (Strategic Planning + Strategic Thinking + Leadership + Change + Innovation).
  3. Increases Desired Outcomes and Vision Attainment:
    1. Business Excellence
    2. Superior Results