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The Role of Strategist

April 15, 2018 By Mrs. Lydia Hirst, Senior AZTech Consultant

Leader, Manager, Risk Mitigator and Negotiator

Learn more about our course “Strategy, Risks, Negotiation and Leadership” – we cover all these topics and more!

Strategists are responsible for setting corporate direction and bringing management & staff along the journey towards the desired ends. No one individual can take full responsibility.  So, defining the agreed endpoint and the means of achieving it must be a group effort with group members, usually senior management, needing excellent inter-personal skills to arrive at an agreed and shared view of the future. Managers and leaders must therefore understand both WHAT has to be achieved and use their persuasion and negotiating powers to reach agreement and convince colleagues of the company’s destination and HOW this will be reached.

How far into the future should one look? There are common approaches amongst companies in the same sector. For example, oil companies may take a long view – 25 or 30 years – whereas IT companies are more likely to look 2-3 years ahead. Should one analyse one’s competitors’ activities in detail or are you in a business which is innovating so fast that there are no competitors as yet? Are you trying to outsmart them or stay ahead of them?

What are the critical steps needed to achieve results? Are your limiting factors resources: people, money, or raw materials? Or are the challenges you face related to thinking of new ideas and encouraging your people to be creative? If you can identify these Critical Success Factors, you can introduce measures that will help the business determine whether it is on track, or not. If it’s not, what will you do? Change direction? Fix the problem?

On strategy courses, it is useful to learn about the tools and techniques which have been developed to help managers and leaders assess their Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. In determining what the future may bring, it is necessary to assess risks. This involves working out the “known, knowns” the “unknown, knowns” and if possible, some “unknown, unknowns” as Donald Rumsfeld famously said. Being prepared can help management make effective decisions, particularly when these have to be taken in a hurry. It may be too expensive in terms of time or money, to address all potential risks, so decisions have to be taken as to which ones to mitigate, which to keep an eye on and which are considered unimportant. Who should assess? Who should take these decisions? Should they be taken overtly or not?

Why is strategy every employee’s business and how can senior staff encourage their understanding in order to engage them in delivering results and improving productivity?

Come and join us on this course or one of our practical strategy / leadership courses to learn more and gain practical skills in preparing and delivering strategic options.

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