“What do you want to achieve or avoid? The answers to this question are objectives.
How will you go about achieving your desire results? The answer to this you can call strategy.” William E. Rothschild
The ability to have a vision and build a strategy to move into the vision is one of the core necessities of leadership. Often I am asked can this be taught or is it born. And it turns out it is neither. It is a commitment to “step out of the day to day” and look objectively and with new eyes at the world around you. This ability is what builds strong and vibrant leaders and like wise organizations.
For leaders who spend time gaining new experiences, trying new hobbies, learning new concepts and skills outside their day-to-day, and practices putting themselves in others shoes….strategy is easy and fun. These leaders provide bold and strong growth.
For leaders who tend to stay with like minded people, are surrounded by people who do not question or explore their thinking, or only expose them to information which keeps them comfortable….strategy is more a tactical exercise of planning vs large thinking which expands themselves and others to new possibilities. These leaders provide incremental growth with blips in either direction.
Here are the attributes of a good strategic thinker:
“• Are systems-oriented, that is they think holistically and use the helicopter view.
• Embrace creativity, innovation, intuition, and understand the insight process (Eureka and aha!)
• Think futuristically and embrace visionary thinking
• Act like organizational radars (or antennae) scanning the internal and external environments
• Have a worldly mindset
• Act as explorers, with heighted curiosity and alertness
• Have the ability to keep an open mind to new ideas, and adapt to changing environments
• Have the desire and guts to outwit, beat, and out-run competition
• Are knowledgeable of their industry and experts in their areas of specialization
• Know their finance and risk management
• Have a bit of entrepreneurial spirit
• Are good communicators (good at asking probing questions and listening)
• Know how to inspire and lead teams.” Dr. F.A. Muna
‘The learned is happy, nature to explore, the fool is happy, that he knows no more.” Alexander Pope
If you are looking to create a strategic thinking leadership team, here are some good questions to start with:
What would a strategic conversation look like for my team?
How often do I spend learning and growing beyond my own sphere of understanding?
Do I really want to have strategic conversations with my circles of influence?
Given the definitions above on strategy, how much time do I currently spend thinking like a true strategist?
What action would I take today which would move me and my team forward as a powerhouse of strategic thinkers and leaders of execution?
“In real life, strategy is actually very straightforward. You pick a general direction and implement like hell”
Jack Welch in Winning, 2005