Have you come across leaders who are caring, fun to be with, and energetic, but lacking in their ability to strategize and provide directions to run their functions or businesses? They usually shy away from making decisions and would not bother setting goals for their teams or communicating the set goals. Such leaders do exist and are often not effective at work. So, it is not just empathy or exuberance that matters for a leader’s success, strategic execution is also a priority.

What is the point of an amazing strategy without the right execution? Similarly, there is no point in execution without the right strategy. Hence strategic execution has to be an inevitable skill in every leader.  It is evident that there is always a strategic leader behind every successful venture or initiative.

An effective leader derives or builds strategies from building blocks such as exceptional people practices, futuristic technologies, innovative ideas, and cross-industry experiences.

The attributes required for a leader to be good at Strategic Execution are Strategic and Critical Thinking, Decision Making Skills, Business Acumen, and an Innovative mindset.

Strategic and Critical Thinking

Strategic Thinking

Leaders are known by the decisions they make and thereby the execution of the strategic plans they envision. Flawless execution comes from good decisions. Good decisions come from flawless strategies. Flawless strategies are derived from strategic and critical thinking.

Strategic thinking is a process where leaders identify long-term goals, analyze their current situation, and determine the best course of action to achieve those goals. It involves considering various options and outcomes, assessing the risks and benefits of each, and making informed decisions based on the data and analysis.

The lack of strategic thinking would make the leader complacent, not questioning the status quo and being happy with the way they continue to operate. 

How often do leaders in Organizations communicate their vision and strategies to the larger audience? The CEOs, CFOs and all other CXOs should communicate their strategies at least once in a quarter during a town hall meeting or through any other forum or medium. Strategies are ideally drawn from the common vision of the organization. Managers and team leads can then derive goals based on those strategies and cascade them down to all the employees of the organization.

It is also important to continuously and repeatedly communicate the goals and strategies to team members, so as to not lose track of the goals.

Critical Thinking

Critical thinking, on the other hand, is a more analytical and reflective process. Leaders use critical thinking to evaluate information, arguments, and pieces of evidence, to determine the validity of the claims being made. By combining strategic thinking and critical thinking, leaders can make well-informed decisions that align with their organization’s goals and objectives. Both skills are essential for an effective leadership and decision-making process, and it requires the ability to think creatively, critically, and logically.

A leader who is a non-critical thinker would;

  • Be strongly opinionated and often discount and discourage ideas and suggestions from team members
  • Fall for flattery from team members and provide them with differential treatment
  • Have favourites in their teams based on biases that could arise out of religion, culture, physical appearance etc

A leader who is a critical thinker would;

  • Be open to all suggestions and ideas and pick the best out of them
  • Be aware of all unconscious biases and treat everybody equally
  • Logically reason and support, with data and observation, to manage the performance of every individual in the team

Decision-making skills

How decisive are the leaders these days?

One would have come across leaders who are non-decisive, the worst being those who fear making decisions. Sometimes, even senior team members who are not empowered, reach out to their leaders even for simple operational decisions. Such leaders mainly delay decisions and the brunt of non-performance is borne by the team members.

Decision-making skills refer to the ability to effectively evaluate options and to choose the best course of action, based on a given situation. This involves a number of processes, including problem identification, gathering information, generating and evaluating alternatives, making choices, and implementing the decision. Effective decision-making requires good judgment, critical thinking, and strong communication and interpersonal skills.

Developing good decision-making skills can improve the leaders’ personal and professional life by allowing them to make informed choices and achieve their goals.

Business Acumen

A leader from any function in an organization requires to have the business acumen to understand and effectively manage various aspects of a business, including finance, operations, marketing, and human resources. It involves having a strong understanding of the industry, the competitive landscape, and the key drivers of success, as well as the ability to make informed decisions that positively impact the bottom line.

Business acumen is essential for leaders at all levels of an organization, as it allows them to make decisions that are not only financially sound but also support the overall mission and goals of the business. Developing strong business acumen requires a combination of formal education, practical experience, and continuous learning. Leaders with business acumen have a clear understanding of how their decisions impact the financial performance of the organization and are able to make informed decisions that drive growth and success.

Innovative mindset

An innovative mindset is a way of thinking, that emphasizes creativity, originality, and a willingness to challenge the status quo. It is characterized by an open-minded approach to problem-solving, a willingness to take calculated risks, and a focus on generating new and better solutions.

Leaders with an innovative mindset will always seek ways to improve processes, products, and services because they are not content with the status quo. Innovative leaders are curious and flexible and they think outside the box to generate new ideas to find unique solutions to complex problems.

Leaders lacking an innovative mindset

  • Do not conduct brainstorming sessions to generate new ideas
  • Do not encourage their teams to make mistakes and to learn from them
  • Do not permit teams to experiment and try new things

An innovative mindset is essential in today’s fast-paced business environment, where being able to adapt and respond to change quickly, is key to success. It also involves encouraging and fostering a culture of innovation within the organization, where employees feel comfortable sharing their ideas and taking risks.

A quick poll

According to your observation, for a leader to be good in strategic execution, which of these skills should they focus on?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

You may be a leader with titles or no titles, an individual contributor or a team leader, managing a small team or a large team; it is imperative to influence stakeholders, using these attributes, to be a strategic leader to implement great initiatives.

Please visit my blog page and YouTube channel, ‘Ideas Beats and Tunes’ by clicking the buttons below. 


Leave a Reply

Avatar placeholder

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.