As companies strive to deal with leadership challenges and outdated practices, they also start accepting the fact that cultural and technological changes will continue. With that in mind, more enterprises have realized the importance of building a solid IT foundation and agile leadership strategy as effective assets to help them mitigate risks and future disruptions.
Organizations worldwide seek to enhance their management style but finding the right one may not always be easy. So, it is no surprise that 67 percent plan to increase their investments in employee development over the next three years. That’s why we believe that a robust strategy can define the success stories of the future. This article will explain how strategic management works and why companies should make it a priority.
What is a leadership strategy?
A comprehensive leadership strategy represents a roadmap that connects investments in c-suite development with corporate objectives, business strategies, offerings, and aspirations. It helps to understand what a company already possesses and what issues it should solve to obtain the desired results.
Current leadership challenges require innovative approaches to efficiently visualize, prepare, lead, and implement game plans while making the most of available resources. Such approaches are based on a manager’s ability to see the bigger picture and connect it to the present. Moreover, the way executives think has a crucial impact on how they lead. The takeaway from this is that strategic leaders think and act with a specific objective in mind.
Is your existing strategy strong enough?
As every company has experienced changes recently, today most stakeholders see leadership strategy and tactics as one of the methods to accomplish their long-term goals. Our experience also proves that when managers implement guidelines and mechanisms to empower strategic change, they can save time, money, and resources. Finally, a solid leadership strategy allows companies to make realistic plans for the future and turn most challenges into opportunities. So, with that said, is your c-level team fully trained and well prepared?
Before you initiate any changes in the organization’s current direction, check if your c-suite can perform the desired functions. By doing so, you may detect gaps requiring some development. Once you make sure that business stakeholders marry up to the circumstances, they will be ready to drive the strategies related to the company’s key goals.
Now, let’s talk about the main components of a strong leadership strategy in more detail. These questions will help you discover and evaluate the current state of your corporate strategy. Moreover, they will help you see how to transform your company’s main drivers into actions.
1. How many managers do we need?
Although this seems like an obvious question, it’s easy to lose track of the number of administrative positions set on the organizational chart. In addition to the quantity, it’s essential to specify the level, function, business unit, location, and reporting connections. Just as relevant, it is crucial to consider informal supervision roles that can also help the organization achieve its goals.
2. What competencies should those managers possess?
Once the number of leaders is defined, you need to consider characteristics of each individually. As more companies seek representation in different scopes, considering diversity, background, and experience level has become eminent. Along those lines, acknowledging specific competencies and behaviors needed among business stakeholders will help to implement an effective and successful strategy.
3. What type of leadership culture do we want to create?
A work culture can make a significant difference in how managers are perceived. Some companies opt for flexible leadership and align their tactics with the desired expectations. But regardless of the style you choose, understanding and communicating the main attributes of the future culture is vital. Things like employee satisfaction, engagement, and professional development require thorough planning, commitment, and certain efforts from your organization.
If you take time to evaluate these factors, you will have a better idea of how strong your current strategy is. However, it’s completely normal to change directions in such volatile times and opt for new paths. As you innovate and strengthen your strategy, ensure managers develop new skills to overcome any future leadership challenges.
Significant leadership challenges and how to address them
When setting a company’s future vision, goals, and mission, we also think of potential threats and new revenue sources. It is worth mentioning that strategic leadership defines all these objectives.
However, just like working on any other strategy, you may face certain difficulties and challenges on your way forward. It’s totally normal and so we list some of the main areas in which you can prepare to overcome them beforehand.
Innovation barriers are among the most shared challenges of leadership when companies decide to expand or change. Although companies embrace it to develop new ideas and expand potential, innovation also comes with risks, and the outcome isn’t always predictable. That’s why it is crucial to embrace innovation with a plan in mind; this way, collaborators are more engaged as they thoughtfully choose what aligns with the objectives. Moreover, you will avoid unnecessary costs, ideas or wasted time.
Some of the main obstacles frequently reside in the ongoing transformations we currently face. Refinements in technology such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), and even social media have become the drivers of adaptability and evolution. Often these changes demand a shift in strategy, and only organizations that have molded an adaptable leadership culture are eager to adjust the course and thrive while doing so.
One of the most meaningful leadership challenges appears when managers don’t have enough influence to incite change. So, implementing new practices fails because leaders cannot convince their staff and teammates of the transformation they’re attempting to make. However, when you consciously work based on collaborative problem solving and flexible leadership, those around you are more confident to share their ideas and trust you.
The lack of resources can affect the leadership strategy and tactics or create conflict when managers battle to claim whatever is available. We suggest starting small and achieving your primary goals, and then expanding. Employ a scalable and accessible implementation technique that can eventually be transferred across the organization.
Building a strong strategy suitable for your company
In reality, the way leaders operate becomes a crucial part of any business. Effective leadership strategy and tactics executed to reach specific goals will help employees gain a broader vision of the company’s expectations. Eventually, managers at all levels will have the skills and capabilities to envision the organization’s ultimate objectives and contribute.
Below we share our recommendations on where to start and how you can help others embrace new directions. Admittedly, the steps below may require some retraining, but they will make a difference when building a successful strategy for your business.
The flexible leadership theory points out a manager’s effectiveness in adapting and navigating under unexpected circumstances while adjusting their leadership style. They’re not afraid to modify existing plans to face new barriers and achieve objectives.
Flexible and adaptive leadership has become essential for most managers, mainly when substantial changes or disruptions occur. Since uncertainty and ambiguity are the new normal, the need for flexible figureheads at all levels of an organization is vital. Help your management develop the ability to adjust plans as circumstances change and remain productive while doing so. You want flexible and open-minded leaders who are not afraid to embrace change, eager to hear innovative ideas, and appreciate working with diverse people.
Treating employees like clients
Although hard to believe, it is true that customers are affected by what happens inside an organization. You may not be aware of employees’ internal conflicts, and you shouldn’t. However, how can you expect them to create a positive customer experience without them getting the same from their leaders? A strong c-level team sets a good example, which can build staff confidence, improve the work culture, and empower employees to do their best.
Collect feedback from frontline workers regularly; they can provide great ideas. Since they’re the closest to the customers, their opinions represent a considerable opportunity for growth. Constantly ask them what can be improved and act upon their suggestions. Make the time to evaluate how frequently leaders receive feedback from employees and find ways to nurture excellent work culture.
Encourage training and coaching
Due to the pandemic, many companies provided their workforce with digital training. However, according to the 70:20:10 model for learning and development, 70 percent of employee training should be experiential on-the-job learning, while 20 percent is social learning, and 10 is formal training. First, you can identify experienced and skilled employees in a field and make them responsible for guiding and coaching their colleagues. By doing this, your employees will demonstrate their progress and improve productivity and decision-making.
Build a strong coaching culture and continuously encourage employees to reflect on their concerns and their teams’ circumstances. Ultimately, coaching your people will develop better leaders who will be more prepared to take the reins of the organization.
Leaders thriving in the new normal
Decision-making has become more intricate as leaders deal with different concerns, from post-pandemic supply chain issues to climate change and digital advancements. However, we strongly believe that those who demonstrate humility and improve their skills while remaining open to new ideas will succeed. An effective leadership strategy enables those who lead to focus on the company’s ultimate vision as they work hard now to thrive in the future. Everyone benefits from strategic leadership when all levels work towards a common goal while continually navigating dynamic conditions.