Today corporate strategy has become a top focus area of leaders, managers and analysts. Strategy has become more about formulation than implementation, and more about getting the analysis right at the outset than living with a strategy over time but which comes first, a strategy or a strategist? For most, it is the strategist.
Being a strategist is a way of seeing, a way of thinking and a way of acting. A strategist, or a leader strategist, for the head of a business is someone who bears overall responsibility for what a firm is and what a firm does. But people throughout a business need to understand and embrace strategy. No one can do a job well, or make the choices and trade-offs any position requires, without understanding the big picture, without knowing what a firm aspires to be, and how it intends to get there.
Perhaps the greatest strategist of all time was not a business executive or an entrepreneur but a general. What makes one a superior strategist is the ability to understand the significance of events without being influenced by current opinion, changing attitudes, or one’s own prejudices and making quick decisions and taking actions without being deterred by a perceived danger.
According to experts, strategy is applied common sense and cannot be taught. The general concept of strategy is viewing all obvious factors in the right perspective. There is always an entrepreneurial vision at the beginning of any activity, action or venture or any company restructuring program, any new phase in a person’s life. A leader’s vision is not a goal. For a leader to become a strategist, it starts with getting clear on why, whether, and to whom the company matters. Rather, it is an orientation point that guides a company’s movement in a specific direction. A successful leader intents upon steering his company’s present course with the ability to focus and work, while moving forward to his vision. The Leader narrows down his Entrepreneurial Vision to formulate a strategy for a competitive game plan, separating from a firm’s larger sense of purpose.
While, the success of a company essentially depends on the extent to which managers use their ability to act freely in the company’s interest, a strategist leader allows directives to be modified and offers latitude for interpretation.
In everyday management practice, the strategist or leader is familiar with the overall corporate vision, philosophy, and strategic goals and intentions in order to act in accordance with them, while promoting creative behaviour and permitting effective implementation of strategies, thus reflecting the level of strategic management competence.
The Strategist leads the company becomes a microcosm of the world rather than just a goal-oriented, single-purpose organization. And also, Good strategists have the ability to make employees and the outside world embrace their visions. The more business strategies and corporate culture are in true harmony, the higher the level of strategic management competence.
This highest level of strategic management competence is achieved only through a lifetime of work and training. It is absolutely unthinkable for entrepreneurs or managers worthy of the name to feel they have ever reached the final goal, have a perfect solution to a problem, or have spoken the last word on any subject. The nature of the entrepreneurial and the way in which they kept modifying their guiding ideas to suit changing conditions, makes one a Superior Strategist. It is the Strategists that lead the charge in creating organizations that can deliver on their intentions and results.
By Satya D Sinha, CEO, MANCER Consulting