Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

The start of a new year often marks the launch or refinement of strategy. Inherent in this process is change, acting in a new or different way. To execute a new strategy, leaders must identify advocates, change agents who work within the current system, and have the ability and will to drive the change necessary for the strategy to succeed.

A key characteristic for strategy advocates is their capacity for critical thinking. In his book You Can Do Anything: The Surprising Power of a ‘Useless’ Liberal Arts Education,” former Wall Street Journal writer George Anders identifies 5 attributes that define critical thinking competency:

  1. Willingness: The confidence and enthusiasm to challenge the status quo, explore concepts for which no rules or precedents yet exist, and adapt to new circumstances. This demonstrates a comfort with “knowing what to do when you’re on your own.”
  2. Curiosity: In this era of “too much data, not enough clarity,” leaders need advocates to calmly and productively distill information and connect the dots. Curiosity fuels imagination to work through ambiguity and discover insights that can accelerate strategy implementation.
  3. Expertise: The ability, gained through experience, to combine synergistic insights when this can expedite decision-making and change realization.
  4. Empathy: The proficiency to “balance different perspectives and agendas” and “still keep everything moving forward.”
  5. Credibility: When “morale is more fragile and cynicism runs deeper…hard-nosed assertions of authority to drive change often have the opposite effect.” Leaders need advocates who are authentic, able to “inspire confidence…and energize others to embrace change” by presenting cogent, persuasive arguments in written or spoken form, and by remaining personally engaged in the strategy execution initiative.
How many of these attributes do you assess when identifying your strategy advocates?
Based on your experience, what other attributes should be considered to drive strategy execution?
By |January 9th, 2019|Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

About the Author:

Bob has more than 30 years of service as a senior sales and business development executive, CEO and business owner. His expertise includes customer-partnered business development, strategic planning, sales management, customer service, operational alignment, lean process analysis and improvement, quality assurance, and performance management. He has worked in the energy, medical device, bioscience & pharmaceutical, discrete and process manufacturing, packaging and distribution, communications and information technology, and business-to-business service industries.

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