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Lessons in Leadership from a Master Strategist – Introduction (Part 1/4)

by | Apr 5, 2021 | Discoveries

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My career is defined by board room moments when I needed to educate, persuade, convince, and motivate leaders to embrace unique strategic opportunities. I am referring to senior teams and boards of directors making high-stakes decisions of multi-year consequences involving notable investments. Following the meeting, they would set about convincing staff and stakeholders that change was desired, not merely necessary, and the calculated risks worthwhile.  

Those leadership moments held the power to change each company’s future. Would the executives resonate with the empathy-based and data-driven customer insights? Would they embrace their unique competitive advantage? Did they have the discipline to say “no” to say “yes?” Or would they shy away, stuck in their comfortable world view, furrowing their brows when the data did not align with their preferred conclusions?  

The answers to those questions depended on who was in the room. Experience taught me what to spot. I was on the lookout for demonstrated strategic understanding, comfort with uncertainty, and the resolve to set aside today’s pressing issues and lofty aspirations. Those characteristics would define the moment’s success.  

I view my consultant role as that of a leader walking alongside my client. At first, I need to stay several steps ahead as I anticipate unique opportunities to align with their deeper purpose and capitalize on trends with the potential to catalyze growth. Then, at the right time, I step aside so my client can lead as the process tips towards completion. Welcome to strategic leadership.

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This is Part 1 of a 4-part article. Stay tuned for the rest of this leadership series. Part 2 will be posted next week. 

This piece was originally published in the March 2021 edition of HR.COM’s Personal Excellence publication. 

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