Mission, vision, values, goals, objectives and strategic planning are just some of the leadership buzzwords of the late 20th Century. Virtually all professional executives have attempted to understand what all the buzzwords mean and make them a reality. Few have succeeded and most continue to search for what bridges the gap between leadership theory and leadership reality. That bridge may well be the new buzzwords for the 21st Century: Strategic Leadership.
Strategic leadership is a process that is simple in its basic form, easily applied and has the potential of yielding significant results. Leading strategically means having a comprehensive strategy for the immediate future. Unlike strategic planning, which is long term for the whole organization, strategic leadership is short term designed for the executive and staff.
Since 9/11, doing more with less has been the theme of many organizational budgets. With the economic instability, stock market uncertainty, the war on terrorism and additional military conflicts on the horizon, many organizational priorities have changed. Many organizations are just trying to survive, as budgets have not increased or, worse yet, some have decreased. As a result, leaders are again called upon to be creative as they strive to accomplish their goals. Strategic leadership offers the professional executive the solution to not only accomplish more with less but by doing less.
Strategic leadership, similar in some respects to strategic planning, is about action, not just a written document that all to often sits on a shelf or in a drawer and is very rarely reviewed. It is a daily process that should be reviewed at staff meetings. Effective strategic leadership is a fluid, dynamic process that requires constant vigilance. Integral to the success of Strategic Leadership is the POLICE Leadership Methodology: Planning, Organizing, Liability, Information, Control and Ethics. The POLICE Leadership
Methodology ensures that the strategic leadership process is grounded on a foundation of accountability. With all of the scandals surrounding CEOs of both public and private organizations, accountability to all stakeholders has come to the forefront and should make strategic leadership very attractive to the professional executive.
The professional executive must take that first step and come to the conclusion that there has to be a better way to accomplish the mission of the organization. The implementation of strategic leadership requires an introspective assessment of the programs, goals and tasks of the organization. Many executives are biased in their assessment, which can degrade the effectiveness of strategic leadership. An outside review offers the best, unbiased assessment to make educated decisions from.
In the second step, the executive is introduced to strategic thinking. Strategic thinking means the executive should question whether or not the department is doing the right thing.
In assessing those forces that can affect or impede the success, the executive and staff will determine the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to each strategy. In particular, the executive must be cognizant of the budgetary restraints and political implications to certain strategies and initiatives.
Every executive in every organization has a vision of what they want to accomplish. Some are more realistic than others. Many executives' desires will not come to fruition, and not because their goals are unrealistic but because so many executives are bogged down with the minutia of leadership and can't get many of the important things done.
During this session the executive is tasked to list what he wants to accomplish for himself and the staff within the next year. The executive is encouraged to shotgun his ideas for the organization regardless of how unrealistic they may be.
At this point, Pareto's 80/20 Rule is introduced. Count Vilfredo Pareto (1848-1923) was an Italian economist who observed that 20% of his fellow countrymen owned 80% of the country's wealth. …