Leadership Challenge – Strategic vs. Tactical

strategic bulls eye“There is nothing quite so useless as doing with great efficiency something that should not be done at all.”
– Peter Drucker

The Challenge

On a recent flight back home, my neighbour and I got chatting. He was an experienced, retired CEO who was now passionately spending his time and energy mentoring and guiding others involved with SMEs.

He relayed, with some exasperation, how his mentees were bogged down with their 100+ activities on the to do list along with diminished focus, a sense of overwhelm and incompletion.

Going fast just to keep up but in the end not going anywhere fast!

We agreed that managers and leaders in SMEs and corporates alike are hugely challenged as we are expected to do more with less, be available 24/7 and respond to communications and issues as they arise.

We pondered – with multi-tasking at its zenith are we really moving ahead or are in fact becoming more ineffective as our brains scramble to keep up?

One of my CEOs frequently poses a Peter Drucker ‘oldie but goldie’ in his leadership meetings:

“Are we doing the right things or just things right?”

If you are running hard to keep up, the first thing to do is STOP. PAUSE AND TAKE A BALCONY OR HELICOPTER VIEW on things.

The Review

Ask yourself:

Where am I spending most of my time?

Tactical – Urgent and demanding NOW or

Strategic – the ‘Desired FUTURE’

Tactical – Focusing on the myriad tasks at hand or

Strategic – Focusing on the bigger picture and intent

Tactical – Mired in the ‘whats’ or

Strategic – Keeping connected with the BIG WHY along with my team members

If you are caught up in the 100+ tactical and operational tasks in front of you, ask yourself:

The Price

What is the price of losing focus in the sea of ever demanding, never demanding tactical and or operational tasks?

What is the cost of not achieving and delivering on our key strategic areas?

Here are some things you may wish to consider:

Can your long list be simplified to a few core issues and matched against, say, the three key strategic pillars?

What is the action you could take on a priority pillar straight away that has been neglected?

What is one thing you could do pretty much straight away to get back on track? For example, is there someone else who will be better served doing this task? What if you were able to coach and or mentor them to be able to do this in the future?

Strategic and tactical or operational objectives are obviously inter-connected and we can’t be totally pure.

The bigger strategic goals and vision only come alive when operationally executed. The operational and tactical moves have to add value and serve the bigger strategic picture!

But sometimes – as per the mentor’s concern above – we lose focus and can’t see the wood for the trees.

So save yourself time, money and angst – NOW!

Focus on that which truly matters.

As a leadership coach, team facilitator and speaker, I love working with savvy managers and leaders who are technically competent but need to enhance their self awareness to build teams which hum and have greater leadership and entrepreneurial impact.


Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


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