About Phil Daly
When something essential in your business seems to be missing and revenue starts to decline, it is time to rethink the why, what and how of your company's competitive edge. Grappling with business issues, and seeing them in a larger context, makes one question the company's purpose or direction.
The "how" of being a strategist
Much has been written about what a strategist does, but seldom touched on the person who does it. For all the information available on strategy, little is devoted to what will make you a successful strategist. What skills and mind-sets do you need to hone?
The most important thing is to understand that you are not a manager of strategy, or a functional specialist. Others can fill those roles. You are, first and foremost, a leader. Your goal is to build something that is not already there. To do so, you must confront four basic questions:
- What does my business/organisation bring to the world?
- Does that difference matter?
- Is something about it scarce and difficult to imitate?
- Are we doing today what we need to do in order to matter tomorrow?
As a leader, you must answer these questions. To be a strategist, one must be willing to explore new ways of leading. Being a strategist takes drive and initiative, and the willingness and curiosity to ask questions and venture forward.
The commitment and passion for this work must come from you.
Most people are content with keeping things the way they are.
Too, often people are consumed by activities that are urgent but not important -putting out small fires, coping with distraction and interruptions and other day-to-day activities.
Yet, as a leader, you must allow yourself to be open to reinterpreting what your business is about. Just as it is necessary to stake out a purpose, a leader must be open to rethinking that purpose in order to move the business forward.
Finding the time and courage to address strategy is a constant challenge for most leaders. But you're the one who has to make space for it and that rarely is easy. However, for economic development to flourish, leaders must swim against the river's flow. The leader must carve out quiet time to think creatively - reflecting on the company's challenges and opportunities. Then, with a viable strategy in hand, the leader must step forward and take the initiative, energetically showing the way.
Behind every vibrant strategy is a leader who seized the initiative and made it happen. As Napoleon put it, "Define reality, give hope."
Source: Cynthia Montgomery, “The Strategist: Be the Leader your Business Needs”