We live in times of great change; Organizations are facing complex and challenging environments, which require leaders who have the necessary skills to turn these threats into opportunities.
We can say that one of the traits in Leadership is the capacity of influencing others to achieve the objectives of the organization through changes and trust generation. However, the current context requires that we mix our ability to create and pursue a vision with the necessary strategies to achieve and support organizational objectives.
Liz Weber is the CEO of Weber Business Services, a management consulting and speaking firm specializing in strategic planning and leadership development training. She has written 9 books about leadership and tells us: “A leader is an individual who is responsible for others to some degree that can help them visualize a way forward to envision the future. They’re somewhat inspirational. They can help create hope and create excitement, and that’s wonderful. However, a strategic leader is an individual who not only helps to visualize but also works on how it is going to be done, can strategically break down the steps so that those steps can also be imagined by the people who will be responsible for helping it happen. This makes the goals much more tangible in the sense that we not only have plans for the future, but we also have contingency plans. Basically, if our desired way forward cannot happen then, what will our plan B be and what will our plan C be?”.
2020 has pushed many industries to the limit and to stay competent we must renew our skill set. Liz shared a couple of tips to develop a more strategic leadership style:
- Ask and become aware of the strategic plan of your organization or project in which you work. Then discuss: Where do you see opportunities in that plan that you could be a valuable contributor to and what ideas would you bring to the table? Where do you see possibilities in some of the plans now?
- Share information in the right way. An example could be: “In my understanding of the plan, I see that we have Project X on the schedule for next year, and in my understanding of Project X and my background, I would like to suggest that we also consider these two ideas because, at best of the cases, it could take us here and if that doesn’t happen, the next option I could take is here or the third option I could take here”.
It is a matter of describing the bigger picture, then what the consequences and contingency plans are.
When we plan assuming that nothing will change in the future, we are assuming that we have control over each and every one of the variables that affect it, which is impossible. By including the possible obstacles that we will face in the plans that we design, we are less exposed to the negative consequences that chance adds to the future, we will be able to anticipate different scenarios and establish alternative strategies for each one.
A Strategic Leader has the ability to anticipate, visualize, maintain flexibility, and work with others to initiate changes that will create a viable future for the organization. Someone who is able to deal with uncertainty.