CMOE Strategy Skills - Team of synchronized rowers

Does your organization glide through the waters of competition with synergy and grace, like a rowing team, or is everyone rowing in different directions, or at different speeds, causing your boat to tip and spin? Developing a strategic workforce is like building a winning rowing team: all team members have a purpose, a set of specific responsibilities, and work together to get to the desired destination after a strategic journey.

Since 1978, CMOE has been training organizations—like AT&T, Pfizer, and Samsung—to develop a strategic approach similar to a rowing team. CMOE works with people at all levels of an organization to teach them how to think strategically. CMOE teaches how to be disciplined and determined enough to look beyond the immediate challenges and to consider how their work impacts the future of the business.

Like an organization, a rowing team’s crew has different responsibilities that impact the whole team’s ability to guide and power the boat. Each person must be aware of how their position impacts the whole team and which skills they need to possess to be the best they can be to bring success to the whole team.

  • Each member of a rowing team knows their role and executes their responsibilities with precision to create synergy and arrive at the desired destination.
  • Strategic employees understand their role in the organization and how they can help the organization to move forward successfully.
  • Rowers need to be aware of each individual’s strengths and abilities in order to place them in the proper role within the boat to gain the most strategic value and take advantage of their optimum performance.
  • Strategic employees are aware of environmental patterns and trends and react in ways that help to maximize opportunities or overcome obstacles to keep the organization moving forward.
  • Members of a rowing team are individually responsible to understand how they must breath and the angle with which they must place their oars in the water in order to propel the team forward while maximizing their collective effort, just like strategic individuals within an organization who take responsibility for their impact on the team.
  • A rowing team needs to be aware of their environment, what is likely to cause them to lose ground, or how their competition may overtake them. Likewise, strategically minded individuals are forward-thinkers, being proactive against threats or changes that will positively impact competitive advantage.
  • The coxswain on a rowing team is the member who faces the bow and steers the boat. They coordinate the power and rhythm of the rowers just like strategic leaders do in an organization.  Strategic employees will know what they need to accomplish, the power their actions have on the outcome of the strategy, and how it links and supports the overall corporate strategy.
  • Just as a rowing team gets into a rhythm, strategic thinkers will also develop a pace of strategic action that will launch them to success.

Strategic companies, like successful rowing teams, have leaders and individuals who understand strategy skills and the momentum a strategic plan brings. CMOE teaches these skills in our Applied Strategic Thinking and Strategic Leadership Workshops. We can customize learning events to meet the specific needs of your organization. Workshops include a full suite of supporting resources, including planning guides, newsletters, virtual sustainability options, assessments, and one-on-one support.


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About the Author
Polly Scott
Polly is an Assistant Vice President for CMOE and specializes in organizational management and executive coaching. Polly also has years of experience in sales and marketing, strategic leadership, leadership principles and execution. She is dedicated to listening and understanding the goals of clients.

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