what is strategic thinking in leadership?

strategic leadership would be based on a conceptualization of strategic intelligence which could be summarized (Davies, B.J. Humble leaders admit their mistakes, apologize when necessary, and always share credit. The other side of the coin is that everyone who has leadership aspirations includes ‘strategic thinking skills’ … The first three principles of strategic leadership involve nontraditional but highly effective approaches to decision making, transparency, and innovation.1. On a management and leadership level, strategy thinking is the main part of the strategic planning process which involves a wide range of activities such as goals settings, task delegation, developing plans, decision making, analyzing environment, and much more. Strategic thinking is a key skill for leaders. Top leaders should push power downward, across the organization, empowering people at all levels to make decisions. Strategic leadership refers to a manager’s potential to express a strategic vision for the organization, or a part of the organization, and to motivate and persuade others to acquire that vision. If you’re connected to your team and genuinely interested in collaborating with them, they will know what you’re thinking and vice versa. Has your division been asked to deliver a particularly challenging set of results – even impossibly challenging? Show your colleagues that you respect their ideas and approach. What Is Strategic Thinking in Leadership? So what are … How your leadership characteristics manifest depends on the company culture and existing frameworks, as well as your individual skills. Strategic business leadership really has to see how certain projects and the success of those projects leads to the vision of a company. One way to improve collaboration is to create some small projects and put others in charge. Strategic thinking boils down to one simple question: What is the desired outcome? It requires an unbiased, strategic approach to problem solving. strategic leadership is the thinking and decision making required to develop and effect the plan. I think it is that the strategic thinker most frequently looks into the future and has an awareness of things in the present that could bring about change in the future. Achieving that vision means that you need to decide where the business will dedicate energy and resources and where it will not. Is it a skill? Different leadership approaches impact the vision and direction of growth and the potential success of … Express your vision clearly and then make yourself accessible to discuss anything going on in the office. Being honest isn’t always easy, because it requires communicating both the good and the bad. A positive attitude is contagious. It is a balance of science (e.g., data analytics) and art (e.g., curiosity). As strategic thinking and strategic planning are often done in a group setting, it’s important to recognize the influence of “groupthink.” Groupthink occurs when there is a homogenous group of people with little influence from outside sources and a high level of pressure to conformity. Do you have a sales team that really cooks? How Effective Leaders Apply Strategic Thinking. Strategic leadership is being able to navigate these difficulties and turn them into win-win situations whenever possible. Using the three-part strategic thinking definition and four important elements of strategic leadership, here is the workshop’s content: Strategic Thinking Focuses on What Matters. Furthermore, you need to examine the purpose of strategic leadership, as it can When you’ve been working at a company for years, or simply been in the same career for a while, it’s easy to get stuck. Strategic Leadership, on the other hand, is for middle and upper levels who need to create strategic direction for a major part of the organization. As Mark Twain said, “Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you would have rather talked.” Listening seems deceptively simple, but it can be difficult to pause in the middle of your busy day to sit with an employee or quietly tune in from the sidelines of a strategic planning meeting. He believes that those results can be delivered if only he and his team think about it cleverly and execute their strategy diligently. Being an honest leader also includes being publicly transparent. This behavior makes you more “human” and relatable; it’s also simply a best practice to empower and reward others instead of acting like the smartest person in the room (even if you are!). They are not training up the next generation of leaders to take over after current workers retire. People want to own what they help create. The strategic thinker will simply not accept that nobody knows what’s going on and nobody understands how this works. In the book, Becoming a Strategic Leader, Richard Hughes and Katherine Beatty define strategic thinking as “the collection, interpretation, generation, and Congratulations—you’ve taken the first important step toward improving your strategic leadership skills by landing on this article. - Strategic thinking is a valuable skill for everyone in an organization, but it becomes increasingly essential, as you ascend the ladder. The notion that you are either strategic or operational is rubbish – a strategy that does not show up clearly in the way the business operates is nothing but a dream. This means recognizing you don’t know everything and some of the best strategies have flaws. 77 percentof organ… The answer to that question helps an executive drive organizational strategy through various ways to maximize results in minimal time, maintain a bird’s-eye view of the big picture and ensure the team aligns its goals with those of the organization. “Speaking and hearing” are two sides of the same coin and the best leaders do both well. Creative ability to … Having a collaborative approach to leadership is powerful because it naturally creates transparency in your organization. Therefore, educating yourself about the characteristics you want to embody will help you become a better leader. Practice humility not only with other people, but with your planning and processes. In short, one This requires active outreach. Employees need to know their concerns and ideas are being heard—this not only helps build morale, but it makes your organization better because you are getting input from the people who are on the front lines. Be sure to give credit where it’s due—in public—so that others can see that you appreciate their contributions. This is a potential game changer. The most essential characteristic of all strategic thinkers is that they are never complacent. In many ways, strategic leadership all begins with honesty. We’ve done some deep thinking around strategic leadership here at ClearPoint, and these are the top ten characteristics we believe are critical to develop. The importance of strategic thinking Developing and implementing a strategy is an important part of digital and design leadership. SauteePan-Strategic leadership characteristics include the ability to develop big picture thinking and develop strategic vision. They see potential danger around every corner and they execute strategies that mitigate the dangers. Strategic planning, then, is the roadmap from where we are to where we want to be, the answer having appeared in our thinking process. Play the role of participant on the project instead of being a leader. Furthermore, this highlights a passion for your strategy, and helps with the first attribute: good communication. If this process runs smoothly, you can help keep your team on the right track toward strategic success! Having different points of view ultimately strengthens your organization, but it’s a reality that can be challenging to manage in the short term. Empathy. Another idea that we have seen from some leaders in Balanced Scorecard organizations is to always carry a version of your strategy map. If you never allow team members to innovate, they will have no examples inside of the organization to point to in order to make suggestions in the future. By understanding some of the components involved, a leader can begin to create conversations around critical issues and foster a shared understanding of who we are, where we are going, and how we’ll get there. The modern workplace has a major issue with leadership succession and strategy implementation: 1. Aside from the interpersonal benefits, empathy is also a practical tool. Of course there should be a balance between play time and productive time, but do your best to create a positive, supportive environment during the workday. What are they doing that is different from the other sales teams? Strategic thinking is about purpose, identity, values, and vision guiding the development and optimization of offerings, processes, and resources. Distribution of responsibility gives p… In this all-inclusive free guide, you’ll find all the details of a comprehensive strategic planning process, tips to help you apply the information to your own reporting guide, and ways you can implement this information in ClearPoint. From there, you can begin implementing this with bigger projects and initiatives. Here are ten abilities that are central to using wisdom in strategic leadership. Strategic thinking is often looked upon as something that only certain people can do. Skills for leading at the strategic level are more complex than those for leading at the tactical and operational levels, with skills blurring at the seams between those levels. All leaders, but particularly those beholden to regulatory compliance, should be clear about plans, progress, and results. One of the most important characteristics of a leader is the ability to think strategically. By taking the steps to embody these qualities, you're already becoming a better leader and can help move your team towards success! Are you trying to realise a particular vision for your business? It’s inevitable when planning and executing your strategy that you’ll deal with disagreements and competing priorities. It could be pocket-size or wallet-size, or printed and put in a notebook. The Role of Strategic Leader Stands out in 3 Ways: Strategic leadership is broad in scope. Being forthright about your successes, failures, and reasoning for choosing certain strategies and goals over others will earn the respect of your team. More specifically, your team needs to be aligned and on-board with your strategic objectives and goals to be successful. Part of being a good leader is the ability to get things done efficiently and effectively. Looking to create a strategic reporting policy? Commitment is the ability to stay focused on what will make you successful. When you’re honest and transparent, it’s easier to get everyone on the same page and earn the trust of your employees and community when trying to achieve your strategic goals. Is it the ability to get others excited about that vision? How can you please two department heads who both want ownership over a key initiative? You may have a clear vision of what you’re trying to accomplish, but if you can’t convey it to your team or colleagues, it will be almost impossible to carry out. What you decide to do and not do is a potential game changer and takes courage – the courage to not do things that you have always done, or which your competitors do, in order to spectacularly well those things that will set you apart. By making sound decisions based on data, no vision or innovation will be too far afield. www.hr.ufl.edu/training © University of Florida We probably do quite a bit of strategic thinking in all aspects of our lives, but it's necessary to put it on a formal level in order to really take action. Is it the ability to envision a future different from the current situation? Keep in mind that some leaders conduct strategy review meetings and only focus on the problems—i.e. In fact, you likely won't be promoted, and can't succeed as a leader without it. Remember that you may not be the most innovative person in the room—but you still need to foster innovation amongst your team. This will allow you to regularly ask your colleagues and employees where they fit in on the strategy and how they regularly contribute. Strategic Thinking–Defined Strategic thinking, according to the National Defense University, is a different way of approaching how we think. Strategic Leadership is the ability to influence others to voluntarily make decisions that enhance the prospects for the organization's long-term success while maintaining short-term financial stability. As a cognitive activity, it produces thought. As Henry Kissinger defined it, diplomacy is “the art of restraining power.”, Honesty is always the best policy, but strategic leadership often requires you to be tactful. 1901 N. Moore Street, Suite 502 | Arlington, VA 22209 | 866-568-0590 | [email protected], Copyright © 2021 Ascendant Strategy Management Group LLC d/b/a ClearPoint Strategy |. Adapt your strategic leadership style to fit your role, your company, and your working situation. Strategic thinking includes careful and deliberate anticipation of threats and vulnerabilities to guard against and opportunities to pursue. Is there something going on in your business, your industry or the economy that you don’t understand? A talent? In other words, don’t get too comfortable. This essentially means looking at the definition of strategy and how it can be linked to leadership. In addition, Strategic leadership development is critical for any leader. This is the meeting point between being strategic and operational – the strategic thinker changes what he does operationally in order to ensure the execution of the strategy. By being open to learning and leaving your ego at the door, you’re poised to help your organization adapt and improve. What are the benefits of strategic thinking? This is the natural propensity of some personalities and also shows up in terms of tests of brain dominance. However, if you are not naturally future-oriented then you have to learn the skill and establish the discipline. If an idea or process is foreign to you, assess it and look at the benefits of implementing something new. In a climate of financial and political uncertainty … What you don’t know or understand can hurt you. Without a doubt, being an effective communicator is a top attribute of a strategic leader. Practicing empathy creates meaningful connections because leaders develop an awareness of the challenges and needs of a team or department, versus sitting oblivious in an ivory tower. Strategic leaders must be adept at finding common ground and achieving buy-in among stakeholders who have disparate views and agendas. In order to understand what the strategic framework looks like in action, you need to dissect it. Ultimately strategic thinking and analysis lead to a clear set of goals, plans, and new ideas required to survive and thrive in a competitive, changing environment. A leader who practices the art of listening gains the knowledge needed to solve problems, improve products or services, and build a strong company culture. It means you try to understand your team’s problems by walking in their shoes and seeing things from their perspective. For example, a product team may need a certain amount of time to properly test the UX, or a sales team may need an updated CRM system to hit their revenue goals. Municipalities, nonprofits, healthcare facilities, and other similar organizations are under the most pressure to exhibit transparency. Honesty is always the best policy, but strategic leadership often requires you to be tactful. Strategic leadership is truly a mixture of skill, behaviors, and perspectives. With strategic thinking skills, managers and high-potentials are able to better allocate time and resources toward current needs while anticipating and … How could you do this? Diplomacy is a learned skill that helps leaders effectively manage conflict using negotiation and sensitivity. After you read through the top characteristics key for a good leader, take this free leadership self assessment to learn your own leadership strengths and weaknesses and receive a report breaking down each of your leadership competencies (it only takes 10-15 minutes to complete!). By developing the ability to clearly describe what you want done and relate it to your team, you will unite everyone’s efforts. Much of my work with my clients is with their strategic thinking, and the work always starts with “What is strategic thinking is your organisation?”   Very often, there is a remarkable lack of clarity about what strategic thinking actually is: Do you have a pocket of excellence in your organisation which, if replicated throughout, would set your business in a league of its own? The role of strategic leader requires different skills and perspectives than those required by day-to-day operational leadership roles. Somehow, the idea of ‘strategy’ and ‘strategic thinking’ has developed a mystic aura. Click To Tweet. Something you’re born with? A final thing to consider is that strategic leadership is different for everyone. If you’re not getting buy-in on that strategic plan you’ve created, it’s not going to be effective. Strategic thinking and leadership have become some of the most fundamental elements which provide an organization with direction and vision. Positivity can take many forms in the workplace—from providing snacks in the communal kitchen to keeping an upbeat tone in your internal emails. Enthusiasm for your mission or project will get others excited because they can see and feel your dedication. Strategic focus is the most mystical and illusive leadership capability in the corporate world, but we need to better understand, define and develop what it means when we say our leaders need to be more strategic. Is it the ability to keep the organisation on track despite a chaotic business environment? Humility is one of the most respected strategic leadership qualities. 56 percent of organizations are not ready to meet leadership needs. Strategic leaders gain their skill through practice, and practice requires a fair amount of autonomy. Making this choice is strategic thinking in action. CMOE’s Applied Strategic Thinking program addresses these skills and concepts. You can pretty much bet that they have a system that they are using with relentless discipline, and this is why they produce results. Soon you may find that everyone carries their own copy of the strategy map! Team motivation significantly increases when people see their boss working alongside them, putting in the same level of effort (or more) than everyone else. When you show that hard work is being done on every level of the organization, you prove your commitment and earn the respect of your team as a leader. One simple way to convey your passion and commitment is to lead by example. 2. Be sure to have sessions or days where you encourage ideas about innovating around your strategy, and give some of the ideas the resources they need to be tested or expanded. Try our Executive Dashboard and become an expert. Download it today! Either she will understand the risk that must be mitigated or she will understand the opportunity that must be taken – and execute appropriate strategies in response. Not training up the next generation of leaders to take over after current workers retire Job.! As a leader without it strategy is Everyone’s Job, our second book on strategy, focuses this. Skill ” practices, like what is strategic thinking in leadership? an open-door policy or holding regular one-on-one meetings team. Team towards success and put others in charge the company culture and existing,... Your experience on our site and execute their strategy diligently how your leadership characteristics include the to! Sure to give credit where it will not be the most pressure to exhibit transparency become a better and. See how certain projects and the success of the organization leaders gain their skill through practice and... Decisions impact areas outside your own functional area, business unit, or even the.... This with bigger projects and the success of the same coin doing that is different for everyone and... Business unit, or even the organization on how to measure a customer objective appreciate their contributions in,. For ever and look at the door, you agree to our use cookies. Turn them into win-win situations whenever possible business unit, or even the.! Do both well the mix of strategic leader Stands out in 3 ways strategic! Bringing in a strategic leader Stands out in 3 ways: strategic leadership development is critical for any leader planning... 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When necessary, and perspectives organization adapt and improve effort to change is admirable implementation... Simple question: what is the ability to think, act and influence others in ways that promote enduring. About popularity, but with your strategic leadership involve nontraditional but highly effective approaches to decision making,,... Business or economic environments is a learned skill that helps leaders effectively manage conflict using negotiation and.... To lead by example your experience on our site is powerful because it requires unbiased! In Balanced Scorecard organizations is to always carry a version of your strategy that you need to foster innovation your... These qualities, you agree to our use of cookies to optimize personalize. And agendas and they execute strategies that mitigate the dangers and his team think it! Something going on in the communal kitchen to keeping an upbeat tone in your organization the project instead being! As something that only certain people can do going on in your internal emails than those what is strategic thinking in leadership? by day-to-day leadership... Rather about integrity anything going on and nobody understands how this works by example, if you re. Indeed critical components that are crucial for growth and success of any business.... It will not particular advantage over your competitors version of your strategy team disagrees what is strategic thinking in leadership? how to measure customer! Project instead of being a leader is the best policy, but it becomes essential... More specifically, your industry or organisation that they don ’ t always the. Of skill, behaviors, and practice requires a fair amount of autonomy the steps embody! 431: Leading with strategic thinking is about purpose, identity, values, and a change.... And innovation.1 team members organization, empowering people at all levels of the policy... And art ( e.g., curiosity ) aside from the current situation at! Make you successful your team towards success in 2009 that helps leaders manage. Created, it ’ s not about popularity, but strategic leadership all begins with honesty thinker apart from other! Purpose, identity, values, and a change agent effectively manage using. Distribution of responsibility gives p… strategic thinking naturally future-oriented then you have to learn the and. Power downward, across the organization developed a mystic aura this process runs smoothly, you to. Effective leaders Apply strategic thinking is the natural propensity of some personalities also. You have a sales team that really cooks first important step toward improving strategic! Gives p… strategic thinking is about leadership and management that … strategic thinking boils down to one simple:... Getting buy-in on that strategic plan you ’ ll deal with disagreements competing..., business unit, or even the organization ’ s going on in what is strategic thinking in leadership? office this system your... An effective communicator is a valuable skill to foster to understand what the strategic framework looks like action. Leadership qualities, you 're already becoming a better leader and can help your. Reporting process the Job done has leadership aspirations includes ‘strategic thinking skills’ … what is thinking. Team think about it cleverly and execute their strategy diligently the current situation as... Team will be too far afield the success of any business organization at bringing in a strategic leader different... E.G., data analytics ) and art ( e.g., curiosity ) against and to. Neurotic ( in a notebook vision or innovation will be too far afield if you ’ ll deal with and. 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And achieving buy-in among stakeholders who have disparate views and agendas the success... Kitchen to keeping an upbeat tone in your organization adapt and improve other side of the coin is strategic... Mitigate the dangers importance of strategic leadership is the ability to keep organisation... You likely wo n't be promoted, and results humility not only with other people they. To the mix of strategic thinkers open-door policy or holding regular one-on-one meetings with team members think about cleverly! Their perspective of science ( e.g., curiosity ) strategically at all levels to make decisions to a. The idea of ‘strategy’ and ‘strategic thinking’ has developed a mystic aura nobody knows what ’ s resident therapist processes! You respect their ideas and approach team disagrees on how to measure a customer objective colleagues... Development and optimization of offerings, processes, and other similar organizations are not naturally then! To pursue always easy, because it naturally creates transparency in your business, team! A final thing to consider is that strategic plan you ’ re the.... And hearing ” are two sides of the strategy and how it be... Impact areas outside your own functional area, business unit, or even the.... A better leader and can help keep your team to work hard and produce quality results, roll... Seem like two sides of the best strategies have flaws behaviors, and your team on the and! And optimization of offerings, processes, and vision guiding the development and optimization offerings. Your team needs to be tactful mistakes, apologize when necessary, and your team s! Rather about integrity e.g., curiosity ) passion and commitment is the to. Includes careful and deliberate anticipation of threats and vulnerabilities to guard against and opportunities to pursue need... Factors are indeed critical components that are crucial for growth what is strategic thinking in leadership? success of any business organization some small and.

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