Being strategic means having a brilliant idea that gets you there. Many executives confuse the two and think being strategic means setting objectives. A strategy is a well-thought-out plan to achieve specific goals.
A strategic leader is one who has a disciplined mindset that enables them to pull back and see the bigger picture. A CEO’s long-term thinking requires a broader perspective than short-term thinking. Strategic leadership is not just about what you think, but also about how you think.
Most organizations have a dominant gene in their DNA that actually drives them. This is an important realization as many organizations act “strategically” by just looking for external opportunities. For example, Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and other movie streaming services didn’t just decide to create (or contract the creation of) original content because it was easy or fun. A long series of trends in their environment shaped the decision most critically: the rising cost of licensing content from existing studios and the changing viewing habits of subscribers.
Leaders often reflect on their management tools. Some tools lend themselves to strategic thinking; others do not. Focus on the short term. An environmental scan can help the leader focus on the long term.
The ability to think and lead strategically is essentially a necessity for success in any career or organisation. According to research, only a few executives have innate strategic talent. The challenging news for emerging leaders is that this set of skills is fuzzy and ill-defined. The best strategists are in the thought-process game, and thought processes often lead to brilliant ideas.
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