Strategies are often launched or refined at the start of a new year. And while you may have conceived the strategy, its successful implementation often depends on those in your team who appreciate why the strategy is necessary, believe in it and your Company, and have the critical thinking and interpersonal competencies to drive it forward.
During strategy implementation, there will be challenging moments that provoke cynicism and compromise morale. At such times, asserting authority can inhibit collaboration and progress. Successful strategy champions rely on their credibility, competencies, and character to facilitate dialogue within the team; their tactics generate ideas to identify the best way forward in a manner consistent with your Company’s goals and culture.
Wall Street Journal author George Anders (“You Can Do Anything”) proposes that the following attributes are what enable strategy champions to be successful:
- Willingness: The enthusiasm, confidence, and initiative to challenge the status quo, explore concepts for which no rules or precedents yet exist, and adapt to new circumstances.
- Curiosity: Curiosity sparks imagination to work through ambiguity, calmly and productively distilling information and connecting dots, to discover insights that can accelerate strategy implementation or suggest adaptations based on new circumstances.
- Credibility: The authenticity to influence and inspire others, energizing them to embrace required changes, by presenting cogent, persuasive rationales, encouraging discussions of pros and cons, and remaining personally engaged in the strategy execution.
- Expertise: The ability, gained through experience with the current or similar situations, to combine synergistic insights when this can expedite decision-making and change realization.
- Empathy: The proficiency to balance different perspectives and agendas, and productively resolve conflicts, while sustaining the progress of the implementation.
Which attributes do you use to identify your strategy champions?