Strategic Thinking- The Master Leadership Skill
What is Strategic Thinking?
It is a long-term thought process to achieve successful outcomes for your team, department or organization. It is not about just achieving short-term operational goals; it is about driving initiatives of process improvement, innovation, team and people development. It could be a change initiated that might cause a drop in short-term results; however, in the long term will drive stronger growth.
Leaders at any level need to be able to focus energy and resources on actions that will ensure future business success and results. It requires the capacity to anticipate, prepare, take risks and position yourself to compete in the future.
Why is Strategic Thinking important for Leaders?
Better problem solving- Proactive vs reactive: A leader with foresight and strategic thinking is more of a proactive manager who will spot potential problems and work on solutions before they become a crisis and actually affect results and objectives.
Improved forecasting of resources: Strategic Thinking gives a leader the ability to plan, forecast and give notice to various stakeholders of the need for resources in advance. For example, the ability to forecast and inform the recruitment team of a need coming up. The ability to foresee the potential need to invest in infrastructure and accordingly give the Finance team enough of a heads up, etc.
Innovation and out-of-the-box thinking: When a leader already has an end goal in mind, the leader is likely to explore various avenues and opportunities to get there faster and easier.
Leading process improvements: Leaders with foresight tend to identify process improvements and ways to streamline work flows; not because the current systems are causing any issues or problems, but because they are continually working to get to the long-term goals faster and more efficiently.
Planned people and career development: Leaders with a definite long-term strategy also have a clear understanding of their teams and people. They have already identified the people who need to be nurtured and mentored to facilitate achieving their long-term goals. They would have probably identified roles and positions their team members can fill and start working on direct or subtle ways of developing the people accordingly.
Team connects with Vision and Purpose: This focus on people and career development ensures that team members are able to see their vision and purpose aligned with the Vision and Purpose of the department or organization. This ensures higher team commitment and motivation and thus higher levels of accountability and ownership.
Increased visibility and leadership potential: All the above actions will make you more visible to the senior leadership in your organization and prove your potential for bigger and higher roles in the organization.
The key challenge for leaders to be Strategic is that they get stuck in daily operations and focus on execution of achieving short-term goals. They need to realize that while they are responsible for operations and goal achievement; they are expected to be strategic and that competence directly impacts their growth and opportunities.
The key is to develop your team and delegate most operational activities and thus focus your energy on being Strategic.
If you feel the need to develop Strategic Thinking as a leader, get in touch with us!