Leadership Strategy Development – Part 1
Developing your Leadership Strategy
Oftentimes, aspiring leaders are said to be ambitious and driven – true! But more than anything I think leaders are simply able to identify opportunities, position themselves and play to their leadership strengths.
Aspiring to lead a team, a unit, department, organisation, or even a government requires meticulous planning. As a team leader, you hope that your manager or unit head will recognise your leadership potentials, however, you consciously or unconsciously play out your leadership skills to the intended audience. As you progress through the ranks, it becomes a skill that you have honed through the years – this is true for any sector or industry! You want to lead? Then you want to be seen as a leader and you do all you can to prove that you can lead.
Individuals with these skill sets are very adept at marketing themselves. In the goods and services industry, we talk about product development, brand development and marketing, market penetration and diversification all with the aim to expand current markets, acquire new markets, promote brand and/or organisational reputation. This way a firm maintains competitive advantage and possibly ensures market leadership. It takes a lot of investment in planning and execution! Same requirements for potential leaders.
Should you be seeking executive leadership roles, you have got to consider yourself as that product or brand that your current or prospective employer seeks in order to achieve the next level of organisational success.
This brings me to your ability to identify opportunities. You are likely aware of new openings in your current organisation, however, true leadership aspirants need to develop the vision to recognise opportunities.
“Don’t wait for the right opportunity: create it.” – George Bernard Shaw.
Understanding your industry, the market, new market entrants, new technology, new legislation, new skill sets and identifying the need to make changes all present opportunities. On the surface, analytics from surveys of the aforementioned may be considered as challenges by a majority of your colleagues, but the leader in you sees the silver lining, the opportunity to create something new, take charge of a new project, volunteer to adapt a new technology or relocate to advance the goal of the company. These are opportunities that a leader recognises and helps to create.
Outside your firm, you can also explore leadership opportunities by equipping yourself with sectoral knowledge. Do not close yourself to approaches from head-hunters – recognise the opportunity that they present! You may not know all the potential leadership roles out there – it is the job of Executive Search firms to present these roles, and help identify and place people with your skill sets in their client organisations. They look at leaders or executives who have helped similar size companies achieve large growth and have insight into what works. They understand how you have successfully developed or implemented strategies and tactics that were successful at your previous employment. In collaboration with you they explore how you can transfer your skills into developing new strategies or implementing change in their clients’ organisation. As a result of your experience, you have a benchmark of success for what is attainable for a prospective employer.
Simply put, you have to appreciate the opportunities that Executive Search firms present to you as a source of leadership opportunities.
“Opportunity is everywhere. The key is to develop the vision to see it.” – Anonymous