“Strategy follows people; the right person leads to the right strategy”– Jack Welch
A strategy is all about choosing ‘where to play’ and ‘how to win’. But besides knowing what strategy is all about, one needs to cultivate the right attitude towards strategy.
Most of the leaders resist being strategic and prefer staying in a fire-fighting mode, dealing with what stands directly in front - because that seems to be more urgent and concrete. But unfortunately, if you do that, you’ll put your business at high risk because while you concentrate on navigating around potholes, you'll miss on opportunities.
A great strategy is the preliminary point of a great strategy execution journey!
An adaptive strategic leader is the need of today’s dynamic and disruptive business environment. Following are seven traits that successful strategic leaders have in common:
They know tools of the trade: Great strategists go beyond powerpoint presentations and excel sheets. They look for ways to capture and translate the intangible ideas into tangible ones that inspire everyone to be a part of companies collective vision and strategy. They know the strategy is a choice – a choice to say NO and a choice to stick with your thoughts. And thus they inspire others to do the same.
They play chess and not checkers: Good strategists are willing to sacrifice short-term results to build long-term value. They analyse what the short-term moves of their competitors tell about their long-range strategy.
They converse with front-line people more than senior leadership: A strategist facilitates and aligns the decision process of his people. He strives to understand and get everyone on board to the strategy platform by providing information and priority guidelines in a language his people understand.
They are Anthropologists: A great strategist knows that even though complexity creates opportunities in the outside world but it paralyses the inside of an organisation and is the biggest performance killer. So, they observe the behaviour's of customers, prospects, investors and employees, synthesise the information from resources, simplify it and share it for easy consumption and absorption of the people.
They are great Story-tellers: Stories are a very important tool because they create a connection and provide context.
“Facts are 20 times more likely to be remembered if they’re part of a story”. – Jerome Bruner
Strategists know that an idea wrapped around a story makes the heart of the message memorable and stickier than a power point or an excel presentation.
A great strategist understands that Strategy Execution is his utmost priority. Rather than putting everything on his people, they lead negating both the losing approaches - a good strategy with poor execution and bad strategy with great execution.
They listen and connect outside developments to the challenges of his customers. A great strategist educates, inspires and shares his knowledge with others on what strategy is, what are the key strategic questions and the checkpoints to consider while executing a strategy.
Becoming a great strategist requires –
A steadfast curiosity, an optimism to experiment and the dedication to keeping learning.