By Hank Provost
Most if not all my virtual leadership coaching clients tell me about their desire to be more strategic in the work they do in their organization. It doesn’t seem to matter if they are a Bank President, Human Resources Partner, Marketing Brand Manager, Supervisor, or the other many roles people fill. Being seen as a strategic leader seems to be the ability that most aspiring professionals want in their portfolio of success as well as in the brand equity they hold in their companies.
When I ask most of my clients why this strategic mindset is so important, they generally agree that without being strategic in their work, they probably won’t be able to have the impact their company and colleagues need of them nor the opportunity for professional success. Fair enough. But, when we talk about what it means to be a strategic leader, most clients are less clear and confident as to what that would entail.
There is the work of strategy, as found in strategy consulting firms, or in the people who fill the roles of strategy developers in organizations. Then there is the idea of having strategic mindsets and approaches for the rest of us who will never aspire to strategy work as a full-time profession. Becoming a true strategy specialist requires its own roadmap of education, experience, mindset, and propensity to want to work in a world of research, theory, and experimentation, in which the rest of us really have no interest.
But, when we talk about what it means to be strategic, most clients are less clear and confident as to what that would entail.
For the rest of us who at least want to build our careers on a base of strategic value and capability, there is much we can do and a lot we can gain. Yes, having a strategic mindset and orientation can be a differentiator for professionals in almost all professions. Workplace strategy no longer sits only in the office of the CEO as it did a couple of generations ago. Strategy as a link between tactics and mission has become the major value that leaders and professionals can offer in their team leadership and when guiding their clients.
Having a strategic ability is more than hoping and wishing. It requires hard work and persistence.
Building a strategic capacity in one’s skills and brand equity requires some specific actions over time. You must build your strategic capacity in the same way you have built your capacity for every other aspect of your profession. Having a strategic ability is more than hoping and wishing. It requires hard work and persistence.
Check out Part 2 of “Does Being Strategic Really Matter as a Leader?"