Making Time for Strategy and Tactics

"All men can see these tactics whereby I conquer, but what none can see is the strategy out of which victory is evolved." -- Sun-Tzu, Chinese strategist. "Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action comes, stop thinking and go in." -- Napoleon Bonaparte, French general and (later) Emperor Which function should demand the lion's share of a leader’s time: short-term tactics, or long-term strategy? The short answer, as is often the case, is “it depends.” Good leadership requires a continual balancing act. On the one hand, you've got to keep the team fueled up and running smoothly on a day-to-day basis; on the other, you have to set strategic priorities and plan for the future. For those at the executive leadership level, the stakes become especially high. Let's look at a few points … [Read more...]

Nailing It: Helping Others Implement Your Strategy

"The best CEOs I know are teachers, and at the core of what they teach is strategy." -- Michael Porter Your value as a leader stems largely from your role as team visionary, the person who defines the priorities for your group. In the modern workplace, you do this best not by executing decisions, but by engaging your team members’ energies. Your ultimate goal should be to channel their efforts, abilities, and dedication in such a way that they align as closely as possible with the strategic priorities of your organization. So easy to say—but so hard to do. Once you've formulated your strategy, be prepared to focus like a laser and direct every bit of energy you can spare toward implementation. That doesn't mean you have to run yourself into the ground to accomplish this, but you do have … [Read more...]

How Can Partnerships Create Leverage?

"In this new wave of technology, you can't do it all yourself. You have to form alliances." -- Carlos Slim Helú, Mexican business magnate (and wealthiest person on Earth as of 2012) While individual effort serves as the foundation of all human activities, true accomplishment requires partnership. The trick here lies in figuring out how to cooperate in such a way that 1 + 1 = 3 or more. We call such leverage points synergy, wherein the whole exceeds the sum of its parts. So before you take on a prospective business partner, ask yourself these questions first: 1. How well do our strategic priorities align? Aligning strategy within one organization is hard enough, much less between two. The better your missions match up, the more likely you'll be able to leverage off each other. But don't … [Read more...]