Strategic awareness gives leaders insight about how the internal and external business environment is going to affect the organization, the direction in which your customers’ needs and expectations are shifting, and whether your operation is in a position to perform. Strategic leaders certainly have a vision of the future, but they also pay attention to how the business is functioning and think about opportunities that are available to them now.
The Strategic Dashboard
The business operation is comprised of six elements that make up your “strategic dashboard”:
- The internal and external clients, customers, or users of your products and services.
- The network of key relationships that will help you facilitate your strategic initiatives. Anyone who plays a part in your future success is included in this group.
- The tangible or intangible services, goods, or products and solutions that you provide to your customers. This is the contribution you make to the organization, which needs to fit and align with the broader organization’s objectives.
- The resources and materials, time, money, technology, assets, knowledge, or energy needed to create your products, services, and solutions.
- The process or way you distinctively perform the tasks and activities affiliated with your role.
- The sponsors and stakeholders who entrust you with their money, security, and hopes for the future. This represents those to whom you owe something in return for their investment in or contribution to your work.
This dashboard is like the instrument panel in the wheelhouse on a ship, which tells you how the engine and various other functions are performing. Your business operation represents your ship. The way in which you keep an eye on the critical operating factors and decide how you make short- and long-term improvements will determine how smoothly you sail.
All ship captains do basically the same things, regardless of whether they are running a tugboat, managing a luxury yacht, or transporting goods to and from China. All leaders must manage their operations in the same way. They must think deeply and look carefully at the capabilities of the operation.
Strategic Awareness for Leaders
It’s vital that leaders learn how to think strategically, as leaders with strategic awareness consistently ask themselves about their function’s capabilities and strengths and assess how those strengths are driving ongoing value for the business. They also examine their function’s vulnerabilities. They want to know how these weaknesses will interfere with their ability to drive value, and they use that information to overcome them. Once they have identified their function’s limitations, they focus on those that are most relevant and important to the long-term, sustained success of the business.
Leaders who stay aware know which features of their products and services need to be refreshed to contend with new competitors. They know that the products and services they offer must remain special and unique in the face of ongoing change—and they constantly strive to develop new capabilities and continuously improve business practices.
Anyone who wants to survive a long voyage must keep an eye on the dashboard. CMOE helps leaders prepare for the journey with training, coaching, and strategic-planning services. Contact CMOE today to learn more about how we can help you navigate the waters ahead.