A chief executive lamented over the lack of his senior executives ability to think strategically. The observation is not new. People are deservedly promoted every day throughout all industries, public and private, profit and not for profit and are expected to fill the position flawlessly.
The flaw in that logic is most of the designated senior level high-potentials are not receiving any education or training in how to be effective as a senior executive. These very talented soon-to-be top level executives have little knowledge of how to be strategic leaders. They are inadequately prepared.
I can hear, and have heard, responses to my above comment that these singled out “high potentials” have been groomed for taking on the added responsibilities of VP, Senior VP, Executive VP or any of the other various titles organizations use. What exactly is “being groomed?”
Being groomed for many, if not most organizations, is being exposed to the activities, projects and tasks that broaden their organizational understanding. This sort of preparation is needed without a doubt. However, it falls short of the mark for preparing to take on the full responsibilities of a strategic leader.
Strategic leaders are responsible for the stewardship and guiding the entire organization into the future. The Strategic Leaders decisions affect the organization as a whole. Effective preparation for the future senior leader includes include three subjects that are rarely introduced to the soon to be executives. They are Strategic Thought (also referred to as Strategic Thinking), Organizational Power and Strategic Logistics. I will address each in very brief terms. Each will be the subject of follow-on articles.
Strategic thought is learning how to develop the strategic vision that will take the organization forward 18 months to three years. It is identifying a company’s drivers, doctrine, etc.
Organizations across all industries have power. How they use it can result in an astonishing success or a dismal failure. The elements are Diplomacy, Information, Manpower, and Economics. The elements are detailed in an article you can find on my website.
A strategy without a means of resourcing it is called a “Hallucination!” What are your strategic materials? What is your strategic reach? Resourcing is more than money.
Extraordinary talent is being promoted daily to positions that have strategic responsibilities to the organization. They need more than a broad exposure to the company. They need to learn how to think strategically and be comfortable in making strategic decisions. The CEO will be less stressed; the Board of Directors will sleep well, the employees will be confident in what they are doing and why and your customers will be happy.
Few organizations take on teaching their senior executives how to be strategic. That is why most companies are average. Are you?