4 steps to be a strategic leader

4 steps to be a strategic leader

4 Steps to be a strategic leader

Encouraging your leaders to obtain and maintain a strategic focus is sometimes a big challenge. Especially when it is not that easy to look into the future where everything in the landscape is changing. However, applying a strategic focus is a key requirement for managers to be effective leaders.

We previously spoke about the risks when leaders get bogged down in details. Strategic leadership on the other hand is broad in scope. We often see this tussle in our clients’ leadership development journey. There is a tension between getting deep into the details in order to feel in charge of making good decisions, versus spending time on exploring strategic thinking and planning. Strategic leaders are still trying to influence today’s business and operations, where their focus, really, is to be much farther into the future.

Let’s take a look at the 4 steps of how to develop and keep a strategic focus and why this is important for effective leaders.

why is strategic focus important?

The world of business has changed forever. The problems that emerge are more complex and for many leaders they are unfamiliar. Nevertheless, the fundamentals around leadership have not changed and it is ultimately sound leadership that continues to drive performance and results.

Effective leadership requires a strategic emphasis. Leaders with a strategic mindset considers the position of the organisation in relation to the current commercial environments, with its opportunities and demands, and use this understanding to make decisions based on ambition, vision and future perspective.

4 steps to stay strategically focussed

  1. have an awareness of the business landscape.
    Being intentional to discover what is happening in the business world at large is essential. Look for reliable sources of verified information about a wide range of issues that have an impact on your organisation. Look for sector experts and industry publications ensuring you cast a much wider net on topics and industries than before. Let’s call this corporate self-awareness, where the organisation understands their internal capabilities and opportunities and understands how they influence, and are influenced by, their professional and social environment.
  2. be vigilant to what is shifting and changing
    It is not only a matter of having an awareness of what is happening, but to actually be vigilant of trends in the external environment that could impact the business currently and in the future. The geo-political shifts after the pandemic have far reaching impacts on governments and businesses and the role of leaders are to strategically consider this in relation to their own organisation. Vigilant organisations do not only know how to respond adequately to threats, they know how to exploit and enhance opportunities they encounter or can create as a result of changes within and around them.
  3. swiftly focus on the key issues.
    From identifying trends that may affect the organisation, leaders are able to quickly determine the key issues and focus on the impact for the business. This focus makes it possible to anticipate future consequences to current situations and provide strategic direction that is considered, opportunity centric and based on evidence.
  4. establish a strategic direction which helps the organisation to thrive.
    Strategic focus makes it possible to consider a wide range of information and to combine multiple streams of business intelligence. The combined facts about potential impacts on the business help to inform a clear strategy. Strategic direction relies on the confidence executive leaders have in themselves to be able to anticipate the future. Strategic leaders therefore need to focus on understanding the future of their professional environment and learn to foresee how it will change. A key prerequisite is to learn to not be distracted by everyday operations.

These 4 steps will help your leaders to develop and maintain a strategic focus. Leadership effectiveness is strongly displayed when a broad market vigilance helps the leader to merge different parts of a complex network of information seamlessly into a response that helps the organisation to adjust and adapt to the foreseen future circumstances.

Are you ready to change your mindset to make a change? Would you like to lead your executive team, a team of organisational leaders, not operational experts?

Let’s have a chat.

Shape Leaders, Drive Strategies, Exceed Expectations.

Shape Leaders, Drive Strategies, Exceed Expectations.

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