Thursday, May 31, 2012

Keys to Strategic Leadership

Types of Leadership

Many key words are attached alongside leadership today: servant leadership, empowering leadership, managerial leadership, visionary leadership to name a few. This post will focus in on strategic leadership and comes from the quest leaders like myself are on, to not simply coast through their time on earth with little impact and little value.

Strategic Leadership

Tony Keys in Strategic Leadership tells the story of NASA sending the Apollo 7 to the moon. When launching the rocket, where did they aim the rocket? To the moon? Close, but no. They aimed the rocket to where the moon would be when the rocket made its way through space.

Strategic leadership is about taking your situation and thinking it through. Where do you want to be in 5 years? What will it look like? What's your strategy on how to get there?

Personally, I don't always grasp this. In fact, at times I forget it. This is my honest side coming through right now. Strategic leadership at times is replaced by, 'quick get all the admin done!' kind of leadership. You know what I mean. You know deep down you need to plan for the future, and begin to map out the goals and outcomes, but your office is untidy and you have to bank some money.

The greatest hurdle to effective strategic leadership is surely the tryanny of the urgent.

Can you send this off in the post? Can I get reimbursed for that? I better send that email and pop that in my diary. Also, I must remember to put the rubbish out.

Some people just know how to plan well for the future. They know how to become an intuitive leader. The key for many though, is to find time to think strategically about your organisation, or church, or business.

Thinking Strategically with Jesus

That's maybe not a subheading I have thought of before, but it relates to a story Jesus gives about discipleship. He says firstly in Luke 14:27 - '...whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.' Then he goes on to say in Luke 14:31 - '...suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won't he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand?' Seemingly the story depicts that of thinking it through, what we may word as strategic thinking in today's terms. (Leadership insights from Jesus)

While we are challenged here by Jesus to think it through before simply 'taking up your cross' and following him, I think we must challenge ourselves, to think strategically about our organisational objectives, our plans, our dreams and not just coast through life with apathy or being hooked into a cycle of the tyranny of the urgent. The key to strategic leadership is maybe simply, to think strategically. That's a start at least.

Inspiring posts on leadership:


This post is written by Pete Brookshaw.

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