“Strategic leadership” is a phrase that is often difficult for most private business owners to define. It’s vague and has different definitions depending upon whom you ask; yet it is crucial to the success of your business. Without strategic leadership, your company will lack vision and focus and could become a thing of the past, instead a leader in the industry.
6 Habits of Strategic Thinkers
According to Shoemaker, strategic leaders do these six things well:
- Think critically
Most of these are clear-cut: Strategic leaders must anticipate how evolving technology and human habits will affect their industry in order to anticipate how their products and services must change. Strategic leaders must also be able to make sound decisions after interpreting trends in data and thinking critically.
Leaders must also learn from successes and failures and encourage others to do so. As is the case in our personal life, tough times are often not the happiest but are usually the most valuable in terms of lessons learned.
When Schoemaker discusses align, he says, “A strategic leader must foster open dialogue, build trust and engage key stakeholders, especially when views diverge.” Leaders must be keenly aware of the motivation behind’ agendas and treat everyone fairly.
For more analysis on Schoemaker’s six habits, check out the full article. It’s definitely worth the read.
Don’t Avoid Strategic Leadership
Oftentimes, business owners will avoid providing strategic leadership without realizing what they’re doing. Other, smaller, inconsequential things seem more important at the time. When you plan to sit down and plot your company’s future, have you ever ended up responding to emails or returning phone calls instead?
These day-to-day productivity comes at a cost – business owners can’t do any long-term planning if they’re focusing on the sprint of this week., classified as “urgent but not important,” can seem more pressing than long-term planning. Finishing the tasks also makes business owners feel more productive because they were able to check things off their list. But that
While it’s easy for entrepreneurs to stick to what they know and focus on short-term tasks, strategic planning sessions are the only thing that will keep companies going. Not only are you counting on your business for income, but your employees are as well.
Tips For Strategic Leadership
Despite knowing what habits strategic leaders have, making time and getting yourself to do these things can be difficult. Here are some tips that will get you on the right track in terms of strategic thinking.
- Do something daily and make it part of your routine. Seeing a little progress each day will make you feel more productive than trying to do it all at once in one afternoon.
- Remind yourself why long-term planning matters. Think about Kodak, which once dominated the film industry. Lacking anticipation and critical thinking has led the company to file for bankruptcy.
- Make strategic planning a priority. The next time you plan to think about trends in the industry, make sure you don’t get distracted. If you find yourself answering an email, ask yourself, “Is this urgent and important?” Your company’s future is both of those.
- Hand off responsibilities. As a business owner, you started out doing it all. But now, your company needs you to think strategically rather than carry out administrative tasks. For example, don’t prepare the checks for vendors or employees. Give that responsibility to a trusted worker and then sign the checks when they’re ready. This will free up some time.
- Set milestones for yourself. This provides some structure and gives you a schedule to follow. When you stick to it, you can celebrate reaching your goal.
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