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Change is not a destination, just as hope is not a strategy.

Taking one step forward means thinking five steps ahead.

The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do.
TALENT ADVOCATE—Attracts, develops,
and retains talent to ensure that people
with the right skills and motivations to
NAVIGATOR—Clearly and quickly works meet organization’s needs are in the right place
through the complexity of key issues, at the right time.
problems and opportunities to affect CAPTIVATOR—Builds passion and
actions (e.g., leverage opportunities and commitment toward a common goal.
resolve issues). GLOBAL THINKER—Integrates
STRATEGIST—Develops a long-range information from all sources to develop
course of action or set of goals to align a well-informed, diverse perspective that
with the organization’s vision. can be used to optimize organizational
ENTREPRENEUR—Identifies and exploits performance.
opportunities for new products, services, CHANGE DRIVER—Creates an environment
and markets. that embraces change; makes change
MOBILIZER—Proactively builds and happen—even if the change is radical—
aligns stakeholders, capabilities, and and helps others to accept new ideas.
resources for getting things done quickly ENTERPRISE GUARDIAN—Ensures
and achieving complex objectives. shareholder value through courageous
decision-making that supports
enterprise—or unit-wide interests.
These nine roles are important at senior
strategic levels because they help leaders
understand what to do to be strategic. They
address the broader challenges leaders face
as they transition from managing more
narrowly focused “silos,” to taking on the
challenges of more enterprise-wide leadership.
These challenges include factors such
as their increased span of influence, loss
of tactical control, broader consequences
of failure, the organization scope they are
addressing, their own visibility, and a greater
variety in stakeholders they need to satisfy.
Several factors will determine a leader’s
success or failure in meeting these
challenges, such as his or her underlying
skills or leadership competencies, knowledge,
experience, and executive derailers.

NAVIGATOR • Identifies root causes quickly.

• Displays a keen sense of priority, relevance, and
—Clearly and quickly works • Integrates information from a variety of sources
through the complexity of key issues, and detects trends, associations, and cause-
problems and opportunities to affect effect relationships.
actions (e.g., leverage opportunities and • Creates relevant options for addressing
resolve issues). problems and opportunities and achieving
desired outcomes.
• Translates complex situations into simple,
meaningful explanations that others can grasp.
Navigators analyze large amounts of • Provides others with relevant context for work.
sometimes conflicting information. They • Overcomes personal and organizational biases
understand why things happen and identify in looking at data; avoids “not the way we do it
possible courses of action to affect events. here” thinking.
They know which factors really matter in
the overall scheme of things.

STRATEGIST • Continuously looks beyond the

current year.
• Perceives what drives the
—Develops a long-range organization.
course of action or set of goals to align • Uses financial data for a successful
with the organization’s vision. performance.
• Grasps big-picture, enterprise-
wide issues across boundaries.
• Recognizes risks and pursues
actions that have acceptable levels
of risk.
Strategists focus on creating a plan for the • Links the organization’s vision and
future. Part of this plan might involve values to the organizational
capitalizing on current opportunities and strategy
future trends (Entrepreneur) and
understanding complex information
related to future events (Navigator).
Strategists make decisions that drive the
organization toward its vision.

ENTREPRENEUR • Takes calculated risks to capitalize on emerging

• Looks beyond the boundaries of the
—Identifies and exploits organization for new growth
opportunities for new products, services, opportunities(partnerships, new technologies,
and markets. applications).
• Turns threats (from competitors, government
policies, and new technologies) into

Entrepreneurs are always alert for

creative, novel ideas. They might generate
the ideas themselves or take existing
opportunities or proposals down a new
path. Entrepreneurs are able to look at
events from a unique perspective and
develop ideas that have never been
thought of.

MOBILIZER • Leverages and integrates the capabilities of

resources across all levels of the organization to
accomplish complex, multiple-level objectives.
—Proactively builds and • Anticipates and diffuses roadblocks to desired
aligns stakeholders, capabilities, and goals.
resources for getting things done quickly • Uses necessary and appropriate lobbying
and achieving complex objectives. techniques to gain support for actions from
• Utilizes creative networking approaches to
identify contacts who can help in attaining
• Develops alternative/contingency plans.
• Empowers others relative to achieving the
Mobilizers gain the support and resources strategy
they need to accomplish goals.
TALENT ADVOCATE • Relentlessly identifies and secures high-
potential talent.
• Identifies the best people (internal and
—Attracts, develops, and retains talent to ensure external), gets to know them, and stays in touch
that people with the right skills and motivations to with them.
meet organizational needs are in the right place at • Links development assignments to current and
the right time. future needs of the organization (as determined
by the organizational strategies).
• Increases readiness of high-potential talent by
providing developmental opportunities.
• Minimizes barriers to achievement; maximizes
the individual’s likelihood for success.
Talent Advocates ensure that the
• Builds and facilitates a culture that embraces
organization has people with potential to
meet present and future organizational development.
needs. Talent Advocates are less • Promotes employee retention by analyzing and
concerned with filling specific positions understanding its drivers
than with attracting and retaining talented

CAPTIVATOR • Conveys a simple, vivid picture of the

organization’s vision and goals.
• Moves people from compliance to
—Builds passion and commitment commitment.
toward a common goal. • Instills others with a strong sense of
belonging (they understand how they
will benefit).
• Generates energy and enthusiasm
through personal passion and
• Keeps the message alive and ongoing.
Captivators build upon an established
foundation of trust to instill people with
feelings of excitement and belonging.
Captivators transfer the energy of their
message in such a compelling way that
people take ownership of the strategy or
vision and are empowered
to carry it out.

GLOBAL THINKER • Considers the implications of

issues, decisions, and
opportunities beyond the
—Integrates information from all sources to develop a boundaries of own
well informed, diverse perspective that can be used to country/culture.
optimize organizational performance. • Understands the different
perspectives and approaches in
order to effectively handle cross-
cultural challenges/individual
• Identifies opportunities for global
Global Thinkers understand and accept leverage (for example,
international and cultural differences and opportunities to develop R&D
behave in a way that accommodates strategy from a global point of
people’s varying perspectives. They also
discern differences in individual styles
and adapt their approaches accordingly.

CHANGE DRIVER • Sees the possibility for

• Recognizes the need for
—Creates an environment that embraces change; change before it
makes change happen—even if the change is radical— becomes critical.
and helps others to accept new ideas. • Sells ideas for change.
• Funds and supports the
implementation of
change and rewards
behavior that supports
Change Drivers focus on continuous
improvement. Always challenging the
status quo and breaking paradigms, they
identify ideas for change and become the
force driving the change home.
ENTERPRISE GUARDIAN • Refuses to trade long-term
for short-term gain.
• Possesses the courage to
—Ensures shareholder value through courageous make difficult decisions in
decision-making that supports enterprise or times of success.
unit-wide interests. • Objectively upholds the
interest of the enterprise by
putting aside emotions and
personal relationships.
• Takes responsibility for
unpopular decisions and
their aftermath.
Enterprise Guardians rise above the
parochial nature of the job and make
decisions that are good for the
shareholder, even if the decisions cause
pain to individuals or to the organization.
Building a visionary organization requires
one percent vision and 99 percent alignment.
Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory.
Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.
Strategy 101 is about choices:
You can't be all things to all people.
Discipline is the ability to focus on

longer-term priorities and forces that
will affect future results. It is the
ability to make strategic thoughts
and actions a regular part of your
daily routine. Depending on the
nature of the position or industry,
disciplined leaders invest 10% to 30%
of their time and energy on strategic
Strategic leaders understand at a deep
level that current success and current

practices won’t last forever. Anything
and everything has the potential to
become calcified and irrelevant to
customers and stakeholders. Strategic
leaders face the challenge of changing
what feels comfortable. They know that
current success can lead to complacency
so they inspire innovation and challenge
people to experiment and take risks;
they see failure as part of this process.
They manage the criticism and second
guessing of others who live in the
comfort zone.
Being a strategic leader means you have
to be curious and hungry for new ideas.
Brilliant insights will come from others
Open-minded around you. You have to be willing to
hear uncomfortable things from
customers and stakeholders. Being
strategic means you can reflect on ideas
that conflict with your current beliefs
and understanding. It doesn’t mean you
accept every piece of information, but it
does mean you consider and explore
new and even nonconforming ideas
objectively and investigate interesting
Leading a bold new strategic
transformation can be hard work and

even arduous at times. Strategic leaders
have the drive and stamina needed
when change becomes elusive, difficult,
and even painful. If strategy was easy,
everyone would be adaptable,
innovative, and prepared for the future.
Strategic leaders have developed the
mental and physical muscle to produce
results when others might give up
prematurely on a plan.
Strategic leaders enroll others in the
journey. They get others to sign up

voluntarily and unlock that extra
discretionary energy needed to move a
strategic agenda forward. If you don’t
inspire others and create a critical mass,
people will resist and push back on
ideas and plans that are intended to
improve their lives. Strategic leaders are
able to sell new ideas, help others see
value and influence the team’s direction.
They celebrate progress, ease the
tension and inject fun into the process.
Strategic leaders are willing to hold
themselves and others accountable for
commitments. They are not harsh, but

Accountable they make expectations explicit. They

know that people drop the ball on
occasion, make mistakes, and have let
downs. This is normal, but strategic
leaders are persistent: they trouble
shoot, offer support, and accommodate
weaknesses, but in the end they require
performance. If you want to be a
member of a strategic leader’s team you
have to step up, have positive intentions,
and ultimately deliver your fair share of
the effort to achieve the target.
Strategic leaders scan the environment for clues
and patterns about the forces and events that
could reveal opportunities or pose threats to

Insightful their team’s success. They may not always be the

first to see new trends and developments, but
they work at it and try to see the faint signals of
opportunity and early warning signs of storms
ahead. Good leaders are aware and have their
sources for intelligence related to their
profession and industry, technological game
changers, and social events that will shape the
future. They know that they live in a “VUCA”
world (volatile, uncertain, complex, and
ambiguous) and they look for ways to exploit
both headwinds and tail winds.
Strategic leaders understand that
strategy is driven by critical
competencies and capabilities. In order

Coach to gain traction and momentum, people

have to be knowledgeable and
experienced. Strategic leaders are
teachers and developers. They create
opportunities for learning and growth.
Strategic coaching is different than
normal operational coaching. Strategic
coaching focuses on building skill sets
and behaviors that are needed to propel
future growth and to create the next
generation of practices.
We always like to say that strategy is a
team sport. Great leaders who are

Collaborative proactive and forward thinking

understand that in order to formulate a
direction and to gain momentum they
will need an army. Strategic leaders need
a team of people who are forward
looking and willing to shape the future
within their sphere of control. Great
strategic leaders create a mosaic of
strategic plans that fit together and that
are lead by many members of the team.
Great leaders know how to adapt by
maintaining clarity of purpose. They

have a vision for the future and passion
to drive them there. They remain calm
when storms brew and they know that
disruptions and adversity will be part of
the journey. These leaders know they
can’t be all things to all people. They
make difficult choices and know when to
say “no” to even good ideas that just
don’t make sense right now or won’t
add enough value to the strategy. The
ability to make tradeoffs and choosing
what not to do is just as important as
knowing what to do.
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