We all know someone who barrels into tasks without putting much thought into it. Just give them a directive—a household repair job, a homework assignment, a data entry project—and they dive right in.
Then there are others who can’t so much as wash the dishes or make a sales call without first devising an optimal plan of attack. They go to work every day not assuming that the accumulation of their labor will one day lead to a promotion. Rather, they’re going to analyze how promotions are awarded, to whom they go and why, and develop a road plan to check off the boxes that should get them that pay raise and prestige faster.
The planner types have what the psychologist Patricia Chen, an assistant professor at the National University of Singapore, and Carol Dweck, the noted Stanford University psychologist and Chen’s former adviser, have identified as a strategic mindset.