You're the boss, but you still spend too much time on the day-to-day. Here's how to become the strategic leader your company needs.
In the beginning, therewas just you and your partners. You did every job. You coded, you met with investors, and you emptied the trash and phoned in the midnight pizza. Now you have others to do all that and it's time foryou to "be strategic."
Whatever that means.
If you find yourself resisting "being strategic," because it sounds like a fast track to irrelevance, or vaguely like an excuse to slack off, you're notalone. Every leader's temptation is to deal with what's directly in front, because it always seems more urgent and concrete. Unfortunately, if you do that, you put your company at risk. While youconcentrate on steering around potholes, you'll miss windfall opportunities, not to mention any signals that the road you're on is leading off a cliff.
This is a tough job, make no mistake. "We needstrategic leaders!” is a pretty constant refrain at every company, large and small. One reason the job is so tough: no one really understands what it entails. It's hard to be a strategic leader if you don'tknow what strategic leaders are supposed to do.
After two decades of advising organizations large and small, my colleagues and I have formed a clear idea of what's required of you in this role.Adaptive strategic leaders — the kind who thrive in today’s uncertain environment – do six things well:
Most of the focus at most companies is on what’s directly ahead. The leaders lack“peripheral vision.” This can leave your company vulnerable to rivals who detect and act on ambiguous signals. To anticipate well, you must:
• Look for game-changing information at the periphery ofyour industry
• Search beyond the current boundaries of your business
• Build wide external networks to help you scan the horizon better