Strategic leadership is the essential skill to transform a strategy into sustainable results!
Strategic leadership doesn’t come easily in most organizations. Statistics show that fewer than 10% of leaders exhibit strategic skills, a woefully inadequate number considering the demands on organizations today. Strategic skills aren’t needed only in times of growth. During tough times, when resources are tight, it is even more important to ensure those resources are focused in the right areas.
Leaders throughout organizations face tremendous pressures to make short-term numbers and show immediate wins. Operational leadership rules the day. This can lead to a lack of focus. Strategic leadership requires one to think, act and influence others in ways that promote the enduring success of the organization.
The mindset of strategic leadership
First, strategic thinking is grounded in a strong understanding of the complex relationship between the organization and its environment. It requires taking a broad view, involving the right people, with important information and perspectives, asking probing questions and facilitating conversations. Strategic thinkers then identify connections, patterns and key issues.
Next, strategic acting involves taking decisive action that is consistent with the strategic direction of the organization–despite all ambiguity, complexity and chaos. A strategic plan is only a plan; an organization’s actual strategies lie in the decisions and choices people make.
Strategic leaders act in ways that manage the tension between success in daily tasks and success in the long term. They facilitate other’s strategic actions, too, by providing a balance of direction and autonomy, of learning from actions and rewarding appropriate risk-taking.
Finally, strategic influencing is about building commitment to the organization’s strategic direction by inviting others into the strategic process, forging relationships inside and outside the organization, and navigating the political landscape.
To effectively influence others, leaders must understand the impact that they have on them. They should also understand the needs, styles and motivations of others. That's why strategic leadership is both an organizational and a personal process, and it is one that today’s businesses cannot afford to ignore. The job of strategy is not limited to a few top executives. Strategic leaders are needed throughout every organizations if they are to adapt, innovate and succeed well into the future. At IMG we address all of these issues.
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