Saturday, July 7, 2012

Strategic Leaders!

What successful activities or behaviors do strategic leaders engage in? To facilitate this discussion some key factors associated with strategic leadership are shared below. These are, first, those abilities to undertake organizational activity and, second, individual abilities:

Organizational ability to:

1.    be strategically orientated;

2.    translate strategy into action;

3.    align people and organizations;

4.    determine effective strategic intervention points;

5.    develop strategic competencies

Personal characteristics of:

6.     a dissatisfaction or restlessness with the present;

7.     absorptive capacity;

8.     adoptive capacity
9.     Leadership wisdom

Organizational abilities

1.      Strategic leaders have the ability to be strategically oriented. This quality involves the

ability to consider both the long-term future seeing the bigger picture, as well understanding the current contextual setting of the organization.

2.      Strategic leaders have the ability to translate strategy into action. In addition to strategic leaders leading the creation of an appropriate strategy for the organization is the need to translate strategy into action by converting it into operational terms. 

3.     Strategic leaders have the ability to align people and organizations. This ability involves

aligning individuals, or the school as a whole, to a future organizational state or position.

4.      Strategic leaders have the ability to determine effective intervention points. Strategic leaders are able to define the key moment for strategic change in organizations. Strategic leadership does indeed matter … it seems the real question is not whether it matters but rather under what conditions, when, how and on what criteria.

5.      Strategic leaders have the ability to develop strategic capabilities. Leadership thinkers Prahalad and Hamel use the term ‘core competencies’ while researcher Stalk use the term ‘strategic capabilities’. Either way, the key message is to ability of leaders to develop core capabilities that differentiates them.

Personal characteristics

6.      Strategic leaders have a dissatisfaction or restlessness with the present. This restlessness involves what researcher Senge describes as ‘creative tension’ which emerges from seeing clearly where one wishes to be, one’s vision, and facing the truth about one’s current reality.

7.      Strategic leaders have absorptive capacity. They have the ability to absorb new information and assimilate it and learn from it and importantly to apply it to new ends.

8.      Strategic leaders have adaptive capacity. They have the ability to change which is termed as ‘adaptive capacity'.

9.      Strategic leaders have leadership wisdom. Wisdom may simply be defined as the capacity to take the right action at the right time.

Finally, if moral leadership is to be exercised and pedagogy re-engineered with any degree of success, then future strategic leaders will need a firm set of personal values. No doubt many will have their own lists, but integrity, social justice, humanity, respect, loyalty and a sharp distinction between right and wrong, will all need to be included. Strategic relationships will soon flounder unless such a value system is held with conviction and exercised on a regular consistent basis.

I wish you good luck and see you next week!


Saju Skaria

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