Enhance Your Strategic Acumen


A lot of people are great at strategic thinking. Others are rock stars when executing against a strategy. Great leaders can do both! Truly stellar leaders are big-picture thinkers who understand the value of strategy and are capable of crafting solutions that address short-range, mid-range, and long-range problems. Great leaders are also savvy at designing and implementing cohesive, interconnected actions that effectively address any business challenge.

Is there room for you to improve your strategic thinking or strategic agility? If so, studying strategy, capitalizing on opportunities to execute, and taking on the habits of those who do it well can accelerate your acumen. Enhancing your strategic acumen is a strategy in and of itself; a means for increasing your leadership impact and sharpening your company’s competitive edge.

Three Tactics

Here are three tactics to help you think with strategic acumen, and be more effective in your execution:

Read about strategy.

There are great books out there, offering wisdom on strategic thinking as well as tips on effective execution. Look for Tim Collins’s “Good to Great;” Larry Bossidy’s “Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done;” and Peter Drucker’s “The Effective Executive: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Right Things Done.” Seek out online business webinars, seminars at industry conferences, or online classes on topics that will improve strategic acumen.

Spot opportunities to improve while on the job.

Where do you want to go — and what needs to happen, to ensure you get there? Look for ways to think strategically at your current job. Consider what you want to achieve, as well as how you could make it happen. Then, outline tactical actions that must take place to support your big-picture direction. Give your action items a definite time-frame for completion, and start executing.

Model an expert.

Do you know someone that is excellent at strategy; both strategic thinking and execution? Pay attention, and note what this person does to be consistently successful. What kind of leadership do they model? What habits do they practice — or purposefully avoid? If you’re not sure what gives your role model such good strategic acumen, try to initiate a conversation about it. Take them to lunch, or coffee, and ask them to explain their leadership technique. Then, build a strategy that’s specific to improving this area of your leadership—and commit to implementing it!

What’s the most important thing you’ve learned about strategic acumen? Share your insights, opinions and tips with other MAP leaders today! 

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