Has extremism taken over North America? Have you left the pier with the others? Seems like almost nobody wants to be balanced any more. Radicals, those way over what was once the top, get the 24-hour news cycle’s attention.
Is the same true for executives and managers? Not too long ago, seeking the B.S.O. (Bright Shiny Object), “magic pill,” the newest, quick solution, was confined to novice naive executives. The establishment faulted them for their idle quests of the quick fix that they hoped would take care of their issues and bring success to them and their organizations.
Now, both the novice and the experienced are ignoring the hard work of setting up and improving processes. Almost all seem to be prone to go off on excursions that chase the newest, brightest, shiniest, most radical fix. Are they allowing themselves to become so busy with the problems immediately at hand that they dare not step back and look at the bigger picture? Are today’s leaders shirking the fundamental responsibility of leadership: to describe their organizations in terms of where they have been, where they are in the bigger context of their total environment, and where they want to be in 3, 5, 7, or even 10 years? Many are.
Yet study after study validates the amazing advantages of taking a strategic view. A few days ago, an HBR Blog by Dr. Robert Kabacoff caught my attention. Dr. Kabacoff wrote that his company, Management Research Group (MRG), completed a large-scale global study addressing this issue in 2013. “We found that a strategic approach to leadership was, on average, 10 times more important to the perception of effectiveness than other behaviors studied. It was twice as important as communication (the second most important behavior) and almost 50 times more important than hands-on tactical behaviors. (This doesn’t mean that tactical behaviors aren’t important, but they don’t differentiate the highly effective leaders from everyone else.)”
It may seem counter-intuitive. “Don’t just stand there, do something!” has long been a mandate for our culture. That remains valid. The key is what to do. Leaders are more effective when they step back and take a strategic view. Problems don’t arise in isolation. They have causes and the actions we take to solve them have consequences. Those who act precipitously are prone to discover a lot more unintended consequences than those who put themselves ahead of the problem by employing strategic thinking and planning processes.
Organizations led by strategic thinkers operate more consistently, more efficiently, and more effectively. How many more studies do you need to convince you to quit chasing the B.S.O.s and develop a strategic mind-set?
It can be done. Contact us.