Strategy and Leadership: Leading the Effort From the Top

The notable author Peter Drucker said, “No executive has ever suffered because his subordinates were strong and effective.” I firmly believe that this is true and one of the ways I have tried to get my team members to be stronger and more effective is creating the expectation that they too need to operate in a strategic way. I have found great success in not only being focused on executing strategy, but also in leading others to be more strategic about their individual roles. Strategy and leadership must go hand in hand at all levels.

In my immediate team, each member is expected to have at least two strategic targets that they are focused on in addition to their regular operational responsibilities. They outline the strategic targets on a worksheet we have developed that guides them through conducting a SWOT analysis, exploring scenarios, and then build on a strategic plan of action. While I provide some guidance to ensure alignment, I let them develop their own strategies based on what they know and are experiencing. This way, they have ownership for their strategies. To continue leading their strategy, I check in regularly to track progress and offer my help as needed.

These individual targets are also shared with our collective team so there is accountability while giving other people an opportunity to become aligned and share ideas. When we discuss the strategic targets, we try to stay strategically oriented by eliminating operationally focused discussions. I have found that engaging my team in strategy within their own roles and responsibilities helps us focus team energy on activities that will have a positive impact on the future. The present becomes linked with the future; there isn’t an unknown gap between where they are now and what they need to do in order to be prepared for and effective in the future. It’s truly amazing to see what a little strategy and leadership can do.

If you would like to do similar things within your organization, learn more about our strategy consulting.

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About the Author

Stephanie Mead

Ms. Mead has experience in operations management, leadership development curriculum design, organization development consulting, and international operations. Stephanie has developed complete leadership development curriculums for some of the world’s leading organizations. Her experience also includes creating specialized learning experiences and blended learning programs aimed at maximizing human and organization performance. Stephanie has also co-authored 4 books with other CMOE consultants.