If you ask 100 business leaders to articulate their business strategy, you’ll probably get 100 different approaches. Strategy and business vision are complicated. However, for overall strategic planning to succeed, leaders at all levels of the company need to use strategic thinking for day to day decision making to lead the business in the desired direction. Imagine a rowing team; it’s not enough for the crew to row the boat in the same direction to get to their destination in time, they also need to perform in unison.
According to Deloitte's Global Human Capital Trends report, 56% of organizations aren’t ready to meet their leadership needs but strong leaders are essential for business expansion.
Let’s look at three leadership mindsets that can help leaders get closer to achieving strategic business excellence.
1. Communication can lead you to places
According to a survey by the Computing Technology Industry Association, 28% of respondents reported poor communication as the primary cause of failing to deliver a project within the original deadline.
Whether it’s your first step in leadership or you come from experience, no one can read your mind. Let your team members and employees know what the company expects from someone in their role, what you expect from them, and what they should be expecting from you.
Even though it’s been said enough, it can’t be avoided; an open-door policy is essential. It ensures that in a situation when someone misunderstands you, they feel comfortable asking you for clarification.
As a leader, it’s imperative that you communicate the vision of the company and how you plan to yield results. Then break the plan into smaller actionable tasks that can be owned by your team members to derive more engagement, involvement, and a desire to be part of a vision that’s bigger than them.
Trying to communicate what success means to your team can be a challenge in itself. Most likely, every person in your team will have a different perception about success – some might associate success with monetary reward, status or the feeling of self-accomplishment.
Therefore, it’s critical to have the right assessment systems and processes that drive desired behavior from the organization. If questioned, your team should be able to define what success means for their team and the company as a whole. This is the core point for strategic leaders to ensure their members dig deeper and see more in the organization than being just a job. This comes from developing the right message, systems, training and processes that bring the team to the same page through a strong vision of success. This is where strategic leadership pays off in the long run.
2. The power of why
As a strategic business leader, you should never settle for any answer that comes your way. Make ‘why’ your go-to word.
You need to challenge all aspects of your company, from the production systems to marketing and sales process. And ask why the work you and your team are doing today will lead the company towards the direction it wants to achieve in future.
The point where you ask why you decide to not settle for anything that’s not up to the mark is the mind space where the best ideas are created. A powerful leader seeks input and feedback from others, and a great way to do this is to provide your team a dynamic environment where challenging each other is a positive sign and is encouraged by the company.
Another aspect of the power of ‘why’ is to establish yourself as a leader that your team isn’t just obliged to follow because they have to. A true leader earns the trust of team members who believe their leader can guide them in the right direction.
As strategic leaders, you should work on gaining the trust of your people and connecting with them at all organizational levels. To make this more comfortable for you, remember the KLT acronym. People first need to ‘know’ you to be able to ‘like’ you and eventually they can come to ‘trust’ you. You need to show them that you genuinely care about their wellbeing for them to be able to trust you.
3. Consider the bigger picture
A strategic leader should always be aware of all the work their team is doing and keep them informed about how their tasks align with company’s goals in the bigger picture. According to research only 27% of employees and 42% of managers have direct access to their company's strategy plan. However, this clarity motivates your team and makes them feel a sense of achievement by learning how their role is significant to the company’s future. This can become even more empowering when they see their work and efforts achieving organizational objectives.
On the other hand, this approach also helps you expose if any activities performed by your team aren’t aligning with company’s values and goals. This enables you to make adjustments and refocus the activities back in the right direction.
Another aspect of being a leader is to believe that there’s always more to learn. Just because you’re leading a team doesn’t mean you know everything. It’s essential to be open to learning from people around you; this will make them feel appreciated for their skills and expertise. Moreover, keep looking for outside resources to help you with your leadership development, culture rejuvenation, and performance excellence. In the modern age, where new technological advancements are revolutionizing industries and all aspects of life, a strategic leader should always strive to increase knowledge, learn new and better ways, and focusing on growing.
Putting down exactly what it means to be a good leader can seem an elusive idea at times because good leadership requires practice and effort. From communication to being open to criticism, challenging oneself, keeping the team on the same page and motivated, working continuously on self-improvement, and seeking more efficient solutions, being a leader can be complicated while being simple at the same time. However, these three mindset changes can make a big difference in helping leaders achieve strategic business excellence.