Are you “being strategic”?

A recent study published by the Management Research Group (MRG), a global assessment company, measured 42 leadership practices and measures of effectiveness in areas like innovation, persuasion, communication, results orientation, credibility, business aptitude and people skills. They evaluated over 60,000 managers in 140 countries and 26 industries with one question in mind:

How important is a strategic approach for an individual?

The findings highlighted in MRG’s research include measurements of something they call “being strategic.” In simple terms, it means someone who is able to think into the future and have a process to reach it. So, how important is this skill for produce leaders individually and our businesses collectively according to MRG research?  

  • 10x more important than any of the 42 behaviors assessed
  • 50x more important than hands-on tactical behaviors
  • THE most important factor in being promoted from mid to senior level position
  • Leaders who scored high on being strategic were seen as 5X more effective than those who scored low
  • When top executives were asked to select the one behavior most critical to the organizations success …. They chose “being strategic” 94% of the time.

Why does this seem so difficult for us? As an industry we are hard-wired to what I call “here and now thinking.” We reward the best fire fighters with promotions and acknowledge those who do a good job in checking off the to-do list. Planning and thinking beyond the day-to-day often comes last. And at best, companies conduct only a once-a-year strategic planning session to set aside time for the future.

If we think of the most exciting new products and services in our industry, chances are you’ll find a leader or group of leaders “being strategic.” And not just once a year in a formal planning session, but people who think and act strategically every day.