Good strategy can move your organization in new directions and open it to new markets and possibilities. Bad strategy can sink your business.
So the question becomes, “Should every leader be strategic?”
Strategic Thinking can be reflected at all levels in the organization
Ideally, strategic thinking capability is a core organizational competency as well as individual ability to make good strategic choices consistently. Typically, the overriding and guiding organizational strategy is created (with input) at the top. The strategic work for managers throughout the organization, then, is translating or making sense of that strategy at all levels … for all employees, and keeping it as a focus in decision-making.
Strategic thinking is about knowing how businesses work; looking externally and across one’s own organization (outside your function) to gain knowledge and gather information about current and possible future policies, practices, trends, and technology; and bringing that to thinking, decision-making, planning, and practices/actions within each manager’s role.
In the strategic thinking process, the focus is on generating insights on how to create new value, making trade-offs with resources, and effectively prioritizing actions.
Most organizations believe the ability to think strategically and set direction is the most important leadership capability for senior executives. They agree that managers who aren’t strategic enough – focusing instead too much on the tactical — aren’t likely to advance their careers.
Developing strategic thinking skills at all levels, in each of your Core Leaders, demonstrates a company’s commitment to leadership development and advancement of managers.
Want to enable strategic thinking for all Core Leaders in your organization?
Strategy development takes uninterrupted thinking time to focus on new, unproven areas that will bring value to the business or functions.
Some questions to ask:
- Does my organization focus on long-term results or short-term results? How do the behaviors of my top leaders reinforce one or the other?
- Does my company have a shared definition for strategic thinking?
- Does my company have a framework or theory as a basis for strategic thinking process and habits?
- Can my managers differentiate between strategy, mission, vision, goals, objectives, and tactics?
What companies good at strategic thinking do:
- Leaders facilitate strategy conversation around key business challenges that are focused on higher-level priorities, not tactical details
- Core Leaders learn how to facilitate strategy conversations and clearly translate strategy to their teams
- Cross-functional groups coordinate to effectively align their strategies and resolve conflicts – they leverage a common language and framework
- Organizational understanding of strategy is found at all levels and, along with company Purpose and Values, serves as the underpinning for decisions at all levels of the organization
- Strategic thinking skills are built into leadership development programs
- Mentoring and Coaching are active and provide a safe place to practice, fail, reflect, and learn
So the answer to “when is too many too much?” is NEVER. When companies are good at strategic thinking, it resonates throughout organizations, affecting just about every major activity and decision.
To learn how we support the development of strategic thinking skills with leaders, contact us at Coaching Right Now.