Leader's Mindset Series -101 | Unfolding Your Strategic Brain

Leaders are often expected to think and act strategically. A strategic brain is like a ‘mental radar’ that helps leaders recognize various dynamics that are at play in different situations. The proactive mental radar helps in capturing all the strategic opportunities and roadblocks that may or may not surface in situations.

Common Mindset: Only the top level executives have and need a strategic mindset.

Leader’s Mindset: Having a strategic mindset is everyone’s business.

Key Strategies to Develop a Strategic Mindset 

An alert and proactive leader can gain insights into strategic awareness by using the following strategies:

1. Step Back

Actively disengage from the day to day demands, even for a short period of time. Reflect on your, team and department’s actions. Look at the bigger picture and re-align plans to achieve goals with more creativity, if needed.

2. Stay Informed

Seek to understand the strategic priorities and directions of the business. To enable access to important information, leverage and expand your relationships in your workplace. Gather different perspectives, ideas and information that may influence your team and/or departmental plans and goals – make adjustments accordingly.

3. Think Critically

The best way to think critically is to ask some powerful reflective questions, such as:
  • Why am I doing these activities? 
  • Who are my critical stakeholders? Who am I serving? 
  • What are the organizational, departmental and team expectations from me? 
  • What processes, resources, knowledge, skills and abilities will I and my team need to be successful in the long run? 
  • How is my operating environment changing and what does that mean for me? 
  • What can I do differently now that will have effective outcomes in the future? 
  • How is my organization changing and what is the purpose?

Such questions can act as a catalyst for strategic inspiration because they provoke deep insight.

4. Speak and Sound Strategic

To be able to articulate a strategic mindset, it is important  that leaders communicate their messages strategically and also use the right language that sounds strategic. Remember, it is a tough competitive world we work and breathe in. Structure your communication to help the audience focus on the core message. Sounds complex? Yes it is - there are no secrets. 

Getting the message across and influencing your audience towards actions involves identifying key issues, developing common understanding, and shaping strategic choices. Always provide the bigger picture to the audience first. Clarify questions and logically build up to the main point. 

The language doesn't have to sound too complex using jargons. It simply has to reflect your organizational environment and context. For example, every organization follows a different verbiage. Some organizations call "rolling out a plan" and some call "executing a plan". Use your best judgement and get into the right strategic language to maintain the essence and impact of your communication.  

5. Consult with Others

Work in collaboration with others to build awareness about the most critical issues that the team, department or the organization faces. Work alongside team members to achieve shared objectives. Contribute with your own perspective, ideas and commitment towards goals and make everyone a part of strategy to achieve greater success.

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Sahil Sharma
Talent, Learning & Leadership Development Professional | Certified Leadership Coach

For consultation and services, contact us at www.ledxlearning.com


HBR's 10 Must Reads on Strategy (including featured article - What Is Strategy?

HBR's 10 Must Reads on Strategy will inspire you to:

• Distinguish your company from rivals
• Clarify what your company will and won't do
• Craft a vision for an uncertain future
• Create blue oceans of uncontested market space
• Use the Balanced Scorecard to measure your strategy
• Capture your strategy in a memorable phrase
• Make priorities explicit
• Allocate resources early
• Clarify decision rights for faster decision making"