So much effort goes into creating a strategy and planning to achieve goals, but what is often missing is the leadership needed to translate those ideas into reality.
Everywhere we work, no matter the size of the organization or the customers it serves, we have found that people have an intense desire to know what it takes to be a strategic leader.
Organizations all over the globe are recognizing that strategic leadership is a critical competency; they know that what sets organizations apart and drives real results is a solid strategy coupled with strong, strategic leadership.
More than ever before, organizations need their leaders to be proactive and able to engage their teams in executing strategic priorities—while also fulfilling short-term demands and requirements.
This can be a tricky balance, so helping leaders master the qualities and characteristics underlying strategic leadership is arguably as important as the strategy itself.
The seven statements below can serve as a litmus test of your personal competence as a strategic leader (or of the leaders in your organization).
As you read and reflect on each statement, think in terms of whether it is a strength—or not a strength—to assess whether leaders in your organization are leading others strategically (or not).
Areas that are “not a strength” can be thought of as opportunities for leadership improvement, and becoming more aware of them can help you close those gaps, leading to greater results with your defined strategy and with proactive, forward-looking leadership in general.
- Continually gather and monitor information and signals about the forces shaping my team’s/organization’s future so I can be proactive, act on opportunities, and align with the strategic direction of the broader organization.
- My team’s processes, systems, and infrastructure put us in the position to be flexible and efficiently shift to avert problems, capitalize on opportunities, or implement a new approach.
- I have a concise and actionable vision for the future that serves as a meaningful guide and helps others see their role in shaping the future, gives them something to align with, and unlocks discretionary performance.
- I have an intense determination to press on and find a new way forward when I experience disruptions, resistance, or obstacles.
- I am willing to break down silos, work across boundaries, and put the broader interests of the organization above my own so it can reach its potential.
- I am not afraid of identifying and evaluating potential risks, and I don’t let fear of failure prevent me from taking smart risks that will help us make strategic progress.
- I seek out and deliberately drive change that will help things get better and allow the business to grow, despite the discomfort that is sometimes associated with change.
What makes strategic leadership different from how you may have looked at leadership in the past is that it helps leaders be more adaptive, creative, and much more forward-thinking.
Strategic leadership embodies the core characteristics needed to enroll and leverage the organization’s talent, not only to achieve short-term outcomes, but also to secure long-term results and a prosperous future for everyone.
For more information on strategy and the characteristics of a strategic leader, pre-order your copy of CMOE’s new book, The Art of Strategic Leadership here.