Are you one of those leaders who spends so much time and energy on the day-to-day, tactical aspects of your business that you neglect the strategic perspective?
If so, you’re not alone. Lots of the leaders I work with want to be more strategic—regardless of whether they head up their organisation, manage a part of their business or lead a functional area.
Fact is, if you want to have a vibrant, flourishing organisation, you can’t afford to neglect the strategic.
What Exactly Is Being Strategic?
Let’s think of “strategic” this way:
- A “manager” adopts a tactical focus. They manage WHAT IS—the day-to-day, the operational, the tactical.
- A “leader” adopts a strategic focus. They think about WHAT COULD BE—either in an enhanced now, or in the future.
“Strategic” Isn’t Just a Fashionable Buzzword
Strategic thinking leaders think on a different level—a level that’s critical to building a victorious future. They anticipate challenges and changes. They do the bigger picture, broader view. They’re proactive, not reactive.
When you’re operating strategically, you’ll be thinking “grand design” or “game plan”. You won’t be detailing a production schedule, or specifying an account management procedure, or spelling out an HR program.
You’ll be asking questions like:
- What could we be doing?
What’s outside the status quo if I don’t simply accept that what we’ve always done will be what we’ll always do? If we were to step outside our current silo, what new products, services and approaches could we create?
- What broader impact are we having?
Thinking outside the dots, outside of our backyard, what are the wider-reaching repercussions of the decisions we’re making?
- What is the bigger picture?
Are there new external forces in our environment that we need to consider and counter?
- What future scenarios could we create?
What could we look like around the corner, into the next year, into the next decade? What possibilities could be open to us?
You might be one of those leaders who’s been feeling uncomfortable considering the future when you don’t feel on top of what’s going on today…
Will you ever feel on top of all the detail? Not if you’re anything like me
It’s not a matter of IF you can become a strategic thinker, it’s a question of what you’ll do to stretch yourself—where you’ll step out of your comfort zone—how you’ll develop these crucial new habits.
You CAN purposefully strengthen your strategic thinking “muscles”.
We certainly won’t all become strategic geniuses like Steve Jobs of Apple and Richard Branson of Virgin. But it’s definitely realistic for you to boost your strategic thinking habits!
Your Leadership Call to Action
How much time and energy are you putting into protecting the future of your organisation—growing it to meet an important, enterprising future target?
If you’re not one of the few who habitually do this well, what will an effective turn around look like for you?
- Do you need to give extra attention and urgency to developing the managerial competencies of your direct reports, thereby freeing up your own time for strategic thinking?
- Would you benefit from deliberately pondering the bigger, broader, longer-term view in your quiet time—whilst driving, showering or exercising for example?
- Or would it work for you to set aside some time in your calendar each week in which you’ll put a strategic hat on and research, contemplate and ponder?
What strategic focus are you ready to commit to?
I’m interested in your thinking. As always, keep me posted.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Carolyn Stevens has worked with leaders for more than 25-years—hundreds of them.
She’s supported leader after leader (including those who previously struggled to confront the difficult, let alone persuasively deal with the it) flourish—and become confident, courageous and impressively influential.
Carolyn is authentic and results-oriented. She draws on an eclectic array of approaches, tools and techniques to suit the situation.