Over the years, I’ve worked with dozens of companies and executive leaders. In that time, I’ve learned that a high degree of mystery and confusion surrounds the term “strategy”. However, strategy is, at its heart, a simple concept. It is about setting a direction for sustainably better performance.

As a leader of your organisation, you are in a unique position to guide the development and delivery of your strategy. In my experience, the business leaders who are best able to tackle and drive strategy are those who display the following behaviours and characteristics:

  1. They are willing to make clear choices and trade-offs. They know that they can’t necessarily have it all and must choose how they wish to compete. They are as clear about what the business doesn’t and shouldn’t do, as to what it should focus on.
  2. They continuously raise the bar. Today’s successes are not enough for strategic leaders, who are forever looking for ways to reach the next level.
  3. They combine analytical rigour with creativity and serendipity. They deal with facts, rather than hope, but are also open to new ideas, possibilities and concepts.
  4. They create a strong team around them. They welcome strong, well-rounded executives and managers as part of their team, and don’t need to ‘do it all’ themselves.
  5. They hold their people to account and always follow-through. Excellence in execution is critical to them, and they never forget what others have promised to deliver.
  6. They don’t solely rely on the numbers for their insights. They spend significant time with customers, colleagues and suppliers to drive their understanding of the business.
  7. They focus on a few big things. Even though they keep the bar raised high, they seek to ensure that the organisation doesn’t bite off more than it can chew.
  8. They are great storytellers. They love to talk about their business, share and explain its future vision, and use stories and anecdotes as a way of engaging their people and their stakeholders.

Which of these characteristics do you share and which could you develop further? To help you, I’ve written a new e-book, How To Be A Strategic Leader, which you can download for free from my website. It contains 15 powerful lessons to help you develop, lead and deliver high-value strategies and to become a true strategic leader.

© Stuart Cross 2020. All rights reserved.