Do you consider yourself a strategist? How do you move from thinking like a manager to thinking like a strategist, and what is the difference?
We get questions around strategy quite a bit. How do I move into strategy? How can I be a strategic partner? Today, we are diving into this topic.
4 Steps to Becoming a Strategic Thought Leader
I have mentored thousands of women in my career, and have coached 300+ women to become Director of Operations (DOOs). In that process, they are upleveling to become the next best version of themselves.We look at your current “hard” skills that you already have and amplifying them. We really focus on the leadership component, and it is a place where you are going to be developing to the next level. A large part of this program will rely on the strategic part of your brain.
“We have this [leadership] skill set, but we don’t tap into it… and I believe the reason that we don’t tap into it is because we don’t have it laid out for us.”
Today, I’m going to be sharing with you four steps that will help you lead strategically, show strategic value, and to be a thought leader in the businesses and client relationships that you build.
In Episode 71, we talk about the 4 different levels inside of each role of a business: implementation, management, strategy, and vision. This is an important piece of our topic today.
We have valued the “doing”, but how do we become a strategic thinker in a business?
Take note, this list must be done in chronological order.
1. Reading the External Environment
What’s going on outside of the business? This is where market research and competitive analysis come into play, and it is critical. Look at the client’s business from the outside, taking care to examine the comprehensive business including the economy, industry, geography, and the avatar.
As you know, we are obsessed with mission, vision, and values. The reason we have been so effective in helping women engage the strategic part of their brain comes back to missions, vision and values. When you walk your client though those types of exercises, they will help you to understand the external environment. I like to do this before I even sign the client.
Whether you are in an existing relationship or a starting new relationship, walk them through the mission, vision, and values. Also look at the competitive landscape.
2. Understand Internal Operations:
What’s happening on the inside of the business? So often, people jump into this second step, which is a mistake.
”You won’t be rooted deeply in strategy if you don’t know what is happening outside of a business.”
This is what happens once you sign a client and are developing a partnership. Now you can start to look under the hood. What do the current operations look like? What does the team look like, what are the tools that are used? You can do a strategy session, The Strategic Mapping Model™, or another methodology.
The soft skills associated with this step are asking good questions, listening, and documenting what you see. You can also do audits.
3. Visualize the Opportunities That Exist
You have now seen the outside and inside, and can get to the place where you can start to problem solve and provide some suggestions. If you haven’t done a scan of #1 and #2 there is no way you are going to confidently provide a solution in #3. You provide the opportunities based on the gaps that you see in #1 and #2.
There is a huge need for independent thought in this area. This is where you become highly referable. I believe you cannot fully see the opportunities inside of a business until you have deeply dove into what that business looks like externally and internally.
“Do not provide solutions before you understand [the business internally and externally] because you run the risk of solving a problem that doesn’t really exist.”
4. Create a Plan
We love to start out in this phase, but we can’t jump here because we won’t fully understand the desired outcomes and participate in setting realistic expectations. We want to be known for bringing top notch strategy that will make a scalable difference in the business relationships that you are building. To set yourself apart as a strategist (rather than a manager or implementer) it is so important to go through all four steps of this process.
“When you use elevated thinking… people see you as a leader.”
Weekly Ops Activity
Which of these 4 steps brings the most resistance? Let us know in the Facebook group!
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