This mean that you need to involve your employees to both formulate and share a clear vision for your organizations future success. Furthermore, you need to motivate and persuade your employees to adopt to that vision.
As a dedicated, strategic leader you are constantly vigilant in your observations of your market segment and related environment. You need to constantly sharpen your ability to anticipate any signals of change that you may see. The downfall of many leaders is that they do not allocate time to detect vague or unclear threats or opportunities flitting around the edge of their business.
Anticipating is not just about researching what your competition might be planning next although, depending on your professional role, that may be important. What is always important – whether you lead a marketing team or charity volunteers – is to develop your interpersonal leadership skills such as active listening, so you can anticipate what is happening amongst your people. For instance, by observing and understanding the challenges your team face, you can anticipate and take strategic action to overcome this challenges.
Strong and open Communication
Without a doubt, being an effective communicator is a top attribute of a strategic leader. And open and clear communication is necessary for the organization to adopt and understand the organizations vision. You may have a clear vision of what you’re trying to accomplish, but if you can’t convey it to your team or the employees, it will be almost impossible to achieve the Vision of the organization. By developing the ability to clearly describe what you want done and relate it to your team, you will unite everyone’s efforts. More specifically, your team needs to be aligned and on-board with your strategic objectives and goals to be successful.
The trouble is, when information is released to specific individuals only on a need-to-know basis, people have to make decisions in the dark. They do not know what factors are significant to the strategy of the organizations; they have to guess. And it can be hard to guess right when you are not encouraged to understand the bigger picture or to question information that comes your way. Moreover, when people lack information, it undermines their confidence in challenging a leader or proposing an idea that differs from that of their leader.
Transparency fosters conversation about the meaning of information and the improvement of everyday practices. If productivity figures suddenly go down, for example, that could be an opportunity to implement change. Coming to a better understanding of the problem might be a team effort; it requires people to talk openly and honestly about the data. If information is concealed, temptation grows to manipulate the data to make it look better. The opportunity for strategic leadership is lost.
Passion & Commitment
As a CEO or leader you need to be enthusiastic for your mission, this will get others excited because they can see and feel your dedication for you goal. But you must also add commitment to the mix of strategic leadership qualities, because passion doesn’t get the job done. Commitment is the ability to stay focused on what will make you successful.
One simple way to convey your passion and commitment is to lead by example. Do not expect any behaviours from others than what you do! Pr. January 2018 I entered the position as CEO of Fretex MIljø AS. The largest second hand retail stores in Norway and collector of used clothes. As a man it has been a long way for me to buy second hand clothes. After I joined Fretex I have got the knowledge and been surprised by the environmental impact I contribute whenever I buy new clothes, which may not be needed. Production of new textiles exposes the environment to high loads. It is therefore important to think about this when buying something new, why not something used by Fretex? Textile production requires huge amounts of water, chemicals and climate emissions. According to WWF, it can take more than 20,000 liters of water to produce 1 kg of cotton; Equals a single T-shirt and pair of jeans.
Fretex also accept all of the broken textiles, something goes for recycling as pads, something becomes raw material for new clothes, insulation mats, etc. What goes for reuse is sold in Fretex’s stores, exported for sale in second hand stores in other countries, or distributed through the Salvation Army’s social work. In 2017, Fretex contributed more than NOK 30 million to the Salvation Army’s social work. If you give to Fretex, the local community benefits from the Salvation Army’s social work in town and village.
What amazes me is the good quality of the clothes found at Fretex stores. Many of the clothes are not hints that have been worn or used at all. Here one day I spoke at the dinner table about the great tours I have had at the Fretex stores. I told my family that I was surprised of the great quality I found on men’s shirts in Fretex stores. In the Fretex stores there are quality shirts from Armani, Hugo Boss, Jean Paul, Stenströms, Alvo, Eton, J. Harvest & Frost, Gant, Zenga, etc. just to name a few. I also said that it is strange that no more men are shopping fine used quality clothes at Fretex. Of course, I should never have said this in front of my children, and especially not my daughter in 8 years. Whereupon she answers; “Dad, you never buy second hand clothes”. What do you answer to this kind of statement? No, it’s a shame to say I’ve never ever been shopping second hand clothes before at Fretex before this year. Then my daughter goes on; “Dad, you always say you should not expect any others act from others then you do yourself. The moral is not expecting any behaviours from others than what you do!
If you expect your team to work hard and produce quality results, so roll up your sleeves and join them. Team motivation significantly increases when people see their boss working alongside them, putting in the same level of effort (or more) than everyone else. When you show that hard work is being done on every level of the organization, you prove your commitment and earn the respect of your team as a leader. If I want men to start buy second hand clothes at Fretex I need to lead by examples. This highlights are a passion for my strategy, and helps with the first attribute: Strong and open communication.
Having a collaborative approach to leadership is powerful because it naturally creates transparency in your organization. If you’re connected to your team and genuinely interested in collaborating with them, they will know what you’re thinking and vice versa. Collaboration leads to trust, and your team will be more likely to support your vision. If you’re not getting buy-in on that strategic plan you’ve created, it’s not going to be effective. People want to own what they help create.
Create room for mistakes and allows your employees to fail
The next best thing we can do is to fail – by failing we create innovations
A company’s espoused statement of values may encourage employees to “fail fast” and learn from their errors. What is the next best thing we can do? Making a mistake! I try to teach my children who are 10 and 8 years, that the next best thing we can do is to make a mistake. The same, I always try to take with me in my leadership. Oh … .is allowed to make mistakes? employees and children ask me. To this I answer a clear and resounding YES!
“The fastest way to succeed is to double your failure rate” – The best is obviously doing something entirely correct all the time, but it is not possible. The worst thing one can do is to do nothing. If we going to have innovation we need to create a space where it’s room to fail, this is the only way we can develop ourselves on. Hopefully one does not the same mistakes time twice. There are three kinds of people, there are those who make things happen, those who see things happen and those that wondered what happened. To make things happen one need to be willing to fail, nothing will happen by thinking of it. When I sit down with my son helping him with Norwegian, English or Russian dictation, it is rare when he makes the dictation correctly at the first rehearsal. It’s okay, and that’s how we learn, it is allowed to fail. Next time we rehearse, so there are fewer errors than the first time and the last rehearsal is all correct. This has also been a learning process for the kid and he has understood that it is by practicing and making mistakes that one can get an accurate end result. The same applies within any organization, we must create greater room to be allowed to fail. Developing a good, self-organizational culture does not happen overnight and takes time. The main input factor in an organization is usually the intellectual capital (employee) and it is the employee who is responsible for the most valuable core processes for value creation in an organization. Then it is important that we have created an organizational culture where there is room to be allowed to fail and learn from our mistakes. The organizational culture controls unproven the daily choices, behaviour, effort and the results that are cabinets in an organization. While we will create room for error, we must also create an opportunity to ask critical questions. It must not be so that those who set the critical issues are seen as sand in the gears and critics.
You must enshrine acceptance of failure — and willingness to admit failure early — in the practices and processes of the company, including the appraisal and promotion processes.
Remember that you may not be the most innovative person in the room—but you still need to foster innovation amongst your team. Be sure to have sessions or days where you encourage ideas about innovating around your strategy, and give some of the ideas the resources they need to be tested or expanded. If you never allow team members to innovate, they will have no examples inside of the organization to point to in order to make suggestions in the future.
Developing and presenting ideas is a key skill for strategic leaders. Even more important is the ability to connect their ideas to the way the enterprise creates value. By setting up ways for people to bring their innovative thinking to the surface, you can help them learn to make the most of their own creativity.
This approach clearly differs from that of traditional cultures, in which the common channel for new ideas is limited to an individual’s direct manager. The manager may not appreciate the value in the idea, may block it from going forward and stifle the innovator’s enthusiasm. Of course, it can also be counterproductive to allow people to raise ideas indiscriminately without paying much attention to their development. So many ideas, in so many repetitive forms, might then come to the surface that it would be nearly impossible to sort through them. The best opportunities could be lost in the clutter.
Instead, create a variety of channels for innovative thinking. Some might be cross-functional forums, in which people can present ideas to a group of like-minded peers and test them against one another’s reasoning. There could also be apprenticeships, in which promising thinkers, early in their careers, sign on for mentorship with leaders who are well equipped to help them build their skills. Some organizations might set up in-house courses or sponsor attendance at university programs. Reverse mentoring — in which younger staff members share their knowledge of new technology as part of a collaboration with a more established staff member — can also be effective.
Strategic leaders gain their skill through practice, and practice requires a fair amount of autonomy. Top leaders should push power downward, across the organization, empowering people at all levels to make decisions. Distribution of responsibility gives potential strategic leaders the opportunity to see what happens when they take risks. It also increases the collective intelligence, adaptability, and resilience of the organization over time, by harnessing the wisdom of those outside the traditional decision-making hierarchy.
Find time to reflect.
As a strategic leader you need to spend the time to reflect. Your goal in reflection is to raise your game in double-loop learning. Question the way in which you question things. Solve the problems inherent in the “way you problem-solve”.
Reflection helps you learn from your mistakes, but it also gives you time to figure out the value of your aspirations, and whether you can raise them higher. It allows you the chance to spot great ideas using what you are already doing or things that are going on in your life. Managers are often caught up in the pressures of the moment. A mistake or a high-pressure project can feel overwhelming. But if you take a minute to step back and reflect on these problems, it can provide the space to see what you did right.