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Role Of Leadership In Strategic Execution

18 January, 2023
3 mins

Leadership is essential for developing and implementing strategy; excellent strategy does not happen without the leader playing on the front foot. The move from the operational to the strategic level is a critical process that every leader must complete. It is fraught with difficulties. Many leaders struggle to complete this step and fail to do so. Due to the rapid changes in the business environment, increasing competition, and employee attitudes from one generation to the next, organizations must develop strategic leaders who can formulate and implement strategies that deliver the desired results to achieve sustainability.

Leadership In Strategic Execution

In contrast to operational leadership, which is limited to managing only day-to-day activities, executives who transition from operational to strategic leadership must perform a variety of roles in order to achieve long-term strategic goals. Examining strategy through the prism of leadership focuses on the important duties a leader must perform to build and implement a strategy. When selecting this main point, managers may discover that some strategic activities, such as industry analysis, competition analysis, and internal analysis, become second priorities since it is not as necessary for the leader to undertake them as it is to ensure such activities are completed. 

1. Establishing goals and objectives

Magic does not transform promising visions into reality. The process of attaining the vision, or strategy, is equally as vital to the firm as having the goal and the willingness to achieve it. Setting strategic goals and objectives for the organization begins just beyond the horizon of vision and before the harsh edge of strategy kicks in. This action necessitates disciplined thinking to narrow the organization’s emphasis. The leader establishes measurable organizational goals and objectives. A goal or target that cannot be measured is meaningless. This is why leaders are inclined towards tools such as OKR software, as it allows them to establish specific goals and objectives that are transparently cascaded to the teams. 

2. Formulating a strategy 

Being an aspiring leader, you must now ask, “How are we going to use our resources as a corporation to achieve our goals?” Accepting a strategic position entails accepting trade-offs with other positions. It also entails deciding what not to do and what to do because no organization can compete successfully in every industry category with every product or service variation. The heart of the strategy is deciding what not to do. Difficult decisions must be made, and the leader must be the one to press the matter. It is the leader’s responsibility to establish the company’s strategic position and make the necessary trade-offs. 

3. Back the strategy

Leaders will not push and advocate execution if they see it as disrupting the business. Employees may see anything short of supporting a new strategy and its execution by leaders as lacking faith in it. That emotion will permeate the entire organization. Employees will feel a lack of dedication if you merely give lip service to execution without advocating it; the execution will fail. Employees will perceive a lack of commitment and will not step up if they do not make time to oversee the implementation process, shift the agenda, and explain why the firm needs to reform.

4. Exhibit enhanced commitment

A big adjustment in strategy necessitates a considerable transformation in a leader’s day-to-day operations and resource allocation throughout the business. Despite the fact that leaders intuitively understand that execution demands extra effort, few are able to free up critical time and resources to do it justice. Some are unwilling, while others are hopeful it will not be required. As a result, less energy is directed toward implementation. Making time in your schedule for execution every week is a smart practice. It also demonstrates genuine commitment and honesty.

5. Evaluate the performance

How does the company maintain its current strategy? By keeping the organization and its executives flexible. Gary Hamel and Liisa Vlikangas coined the term strategic resilience to define a company’s ability to continuously anticipate and respond to trends that can permanently harm the company’s earning power. The goal is to create a resilient organization that constantly creates its future rather than defends its past. The leader must ensure that there is a sufficient supply of viable options that can be developed into full-fledged strategies to replace the deteriorating ones. These may begin as low-stakes wagers, with the most promising ones being chosen and fully supported. The more strategy options developed in this manner, the more resilient the company will be in the face of change. The nimble leader must nurture this process of renewal that replaces deterioration.

Leadership plays one of the most crucial roles in strategy execution, so much so that the success of the strategy and the organization is largely dependent on it. So what are you waiting for? Book a consultation call with the experts today! for more insights and guidance.