Becoming an effective strategic leader involves developing your skills and knowledge to cope with competition and respond quickly to opportunities. Strategic leaders also influence subordinates to recognize and take actions that enable the company’s long-term success. Balancing daily operations with visionary planning requires that you think and act appropriately to sustain a competitive advantage. According to management expert, Henry Mintzberg, creating an effective strategy can involve planning, plotting, responding to patterns, taking advantage of a position or shaping the company’s perspective.
Strategic leaders establish a clear mission for their organization. Then, subordinates can align their goals and objectives to that vision. Without a clear direction, each subordinate pursues his own path, which wastes resources, time and energy. Successful strategic leaders communicate the company’s vision through motivational speeches, messages and presentations. A consistent strategy helps ensure people work on the right things at the right time.
Leaders perform planning activities to structure work. This typically involves analysis, brainstorming and project management. For example, a strategic leader thoroughly examines the political, economic, social and technical environment before making any decisions. Instead of merely completing daily operations in rote manner, she continuously analyzes her company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and potential threats. Then, using reliable data and information, she develops a course of action for responding to changing markets.
Strategic leaders inspire and motivate subordinates to achieve the company’s goals. This might involve thwarting the competition by disrupting, dissuading or discouraging its growth. For example, a pharmacy might open another store so a competitor doesn’t open one in that location. This ensures customer loyalty and prevents the rival from establishing a presence. Effective strategic leaders also analyze their company operations to identify the most successful ventures. Expanding on these best practices allows the company to continue doing what it does best.
Using strategic management expert Michael Porter’s Five Forces Analysis tool, you can determine where power lies in your organization. This helps you decide if new products and services might be profitable and be worthy of inclusion in your strategic plan. These forces include supplier power, buyer power, competitive rivalry, threat of substitution, and threat of new entry. Measure supplier power by how easy it is for suppliers to increase their prices. Buyer power defines how easy it is for buyers to dictate pricing terms. Measure competitive rivalry by identifying the number and capability of companies offering similar products and services. Additionally, identify the ability of your customers to find a substitute or for other entrepreneurs to enter your business. Use the answers to these questions to form your strategic plan.