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Become a Strategy Superstar!

March 11, 2014

When coaching clients as part of Potential Unlimited’s Executive Coaching program, I see that one of the top skills leaders want to develop is their strategic thinking ability. So today, I would like to share with you my Top Tips around becoming a Strategy Superstar.

Where I find people struggle with strategy is mostly on two fronts. First, it has become a business buzz word so it can mean different things to different people. The concept ‘strategy’ can be very vague. The second challenge around being strategic is that once you really understand what it means, it can be difficult to understand how to apply it practically to what you do in your job.

So let’s start with defining it.

First, talk to your boss about the concept of strategy and ask her or him what they think the term means and how it applies directly to the work you do. If you have an idea of strategy and your boss has a totally different concept, you are never going to meet her expectations and will become frustrated. This doesn’t mean you need to morph into your boss. But it is about taking your beliefs about strategy and incorporating the boss’ ideas to provide a win-win situation for both people.

Now, let’s talk about bringing a greater level of strategic thinking into the work you do as a leader.

1. I often hear people define strategy as the ability to have vision and long term thinking versus short term thinking. To me, strategy isn’t about long term versus short term. You need to be strategic in how you think in the short term too or else you won’t make it to the long term! It is more about thinking outside your silo to know how the decisions that leaders make impact everyone as well as your bottom line.

And yes, I do believe that vision is important. Your ability to think into the future and make projections needs to include an understanding of the nuances of your environment and the economy to make the best possible decisions in cooperation with what your customers want.

2. Shed your departmental skin. When you walk into a meeting, you may be called upon for your expertise of your department or region. That is great, but remember it is not a ‘you’ versus ‘them’ scenario. You really should see yourself as a leader making decisions for the organization as a whole, not just doing what you think is in the best interest of your department.

3. Make friends with others. Reach out to people from as many different departments as possible. Befriend other leaders, managers, front line staff and customers. Really listen to them and understand their roles, concerns and ideas. This will help build your knowledge of all parts of the organization

4. Think of strategic thinking as putting together a puzzle. When you put in one piece, it will change and shape the whole puzzle. Each piece, every decision you make, will impact the other pieces either directly or indirectly. Your decisions count! So make them impactful, purposeful and successful!

Find out more about how to Expand your Strategic Thinking Ability and Potential Unlimited’s Executive Coaching program.

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