Strategic Leadership Development
“It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”- Charles Darwin
The world of 21st century business has brought unprecedented strategic leadership challenges, yet it’s surprising how simple the principles remain. In business, as in life, success comes from doing the right things and doing things right, at the right time. The most important job of any leader in an organizational arena, then, is to respond to the current market environment by developing the right strategies and the capabilities to execute them and develop momentum.
Leaders at the helm of organizations worldwide know that strategy execution is a key factor for success. While this sounds simple in principle, two of the biggest challenges chief executives say they face are excellence in execution and consistent execution of strategy by top management, according to the 2014 Conference Board.
Why the difficulty? Because most haven’t deciphered the keys to building and leading the processes, systems and culture that enable an organization to execute its strategy, or what we call strategic leadership.
Strategic leadership goes beyond devising strategy or managing day-to-day operations to aligning current and future customer needs, strategies, people and systems to deliver strategic objectives within a constantly changing environment. It’s the missing link in many organizations struggling to implement their strategies and meet performance targets.
The foundational problem lies in how executives and senior managers are trained and how the nature of organizations has changed around them:
- Organizational development and academic leadership training has lacked emphasis on know-how.
- Leadership development initiatives are not sufficiently integrated with current business needs and a specific strategic context.
- The training does not provide sufficient hands-on learning in context with real business issues and what is trying to be achieved.
- Organizations have become more complex and dynamic. The real leadership demands in this environment are not intelligence and experience, but adaptability and ability to learn quickly. As former IBM chairman Lou Gerstner has said, “You have to be fast on your feet and adaptive or else a strategy is useless.”
It’s time for a new approach.
S2R has developed a leadership development planning process that puts the focus on strategy execution and organizational performance improvement. It enables a business leader to define the strategy execution competencies that guide the learning curriculum for strategic leadership development relevant to the organization. The strategic learning process also adds a real-time focus on performance improvement.
• This approach is not a matter of classes or lessons – it is individual and/or group work on current day organizational opportunities and problems to both develop strategic leadership capabilities and improve the business in real-time. The enterprise benefits from simultaneously achieving individual and organizational continuous improvement.
• Our unique methodology is designed to build on the current evolutionary state and context of an organization. It takes into account the company’s value discipline in the market, the current reality of leadership abilities and the culture and systems already in place. The idea is to work with what you have and make, or take one step forward, using the guiding principles outlined in my co-authored book, Executing Your Strategy.
• Our blueprinted, strategic leadership development process is customized for each learning workshop with contextually relevant course content designed around real-world projects and applying the Action Learning strategies we’ve used in the award-winning curricula in the Stanford University Advanced Project Management program.
S2R’s strategic leadership development program differs from other leadership training by its focus on a true strategy execution discipline. It develops the appropriate psychology and leadership required to execute any program or idea both at the individual and organizational level.
By working on actual business improvement or transformational projects, participants learn the “8 D’s” that are essential for strategic leadership:
1. Define strategy – through outcome-based strategy execution mapping and systems-thinking exercises
2. Diagnose improvement – through an understanding of continuous improvement methodologies and fundamental organizational constraints
3. Deliver results – through a defined strategy execution platform and processes
4. Drive change – in the context of a complex environment, by understanding the interfaces between organizational functions
5. Develop and energize people – through appreciative inquiry and affirmative approaches to create breakthroughs and turnarounds
6. Demonstrate passion for values – to infuse integrity and model behavior for increased employee commitment
7. Discover the power of facilitative leadership — for better group problem-solving, team creativity and innovation.
8. Develop leadership pipeline and transitions – to build the capacity for future individual and organizational growth
Each strategic learning program is structured to build the capacities for the five levels of leadership that are essential for strategy execution success:
Five Levels of Strategic Leadership
Level 5 – Leading Organizational Direction
Level 4 – Leading Business Units
Level 3 – Managing Portfolios
Level 2 – Leading Teams
Level 1 – Leading Oneself
Investing in hands-on strategic leadership training pays off with tangible progress in organizational execution capabilities. Not only does the enterprise benefit from application of the competencies and strategy execution framework, it also paves the way for a more aligned organization that connects leadership performance to business targets and core values to management practices in action.