Driving Transactions
Sunday, April 21, 2024

BY ANDI GRAY

Dilemma: “Our managers need to think strategically. I see them falling into a hole of being comfortable. They come in, do a day of tactical work, and go home. They’re not helping me solve the significant challenges we’re facing now. They spend more time keeping their heads down than looking up. I want them to see what else they can do to get us where we need to go. How do we help them build management skills?”

Thoughts of the Day: Think strategically and ensure your managers and their management skills are on board with where the company is headed. Facilitate conversations about the challenges that must be solved over the next 3-5 years. Brainstorm solutions and break actions down into bite-size chunks. Agree on priorities. Have a way to track outcomes so your managers can build confidence and fix problems.

Andi Gray There’s a reason why strategic thinking is one of the most critical management skills for managers to possess: it’s essential for making sound decisions that propel businesses forward.

Unfortunately, not all managers are natural strategic thinkers and many struggle with it altogether. So, how can business owners and employees get their managers to think more strategically? Check out these tips!

Work Backward
Managers need to be on the same page regarding company goals. Some managers may shy away from putting plans down on paper, fearing they may not achieve them. Teach managers that it’s better to strive for a purpose and come up short than to be unclear about where the company is headed. Explain that being unclear about company goals can lead to stagnation and a lack of motivation among employees. Instead, encourage managers to map out a clear picture of where the company is going. This will help everyone stay focused and aligned with the company’s purpose. Ultimately, this will lead to greater success for the business.

Think Strategically
The old saying goes, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.” The same is true for businesses. Without a clear destination, getting sidetracked and going nowhere is easy. That’s why it’s essential to set goals involving the growth of customers, markets, revenue, and knowledge. These become the foundation for future success. But simply setting goals is not enough. Engaging people in a collaborative learning process is essential to ensure everyone is on the same page. Ask people to read books and articles and attend conferences to learn more about how they can contribute to the company’s success. By taking these steps and implementing these management skills, you can ensure that your company is well-positioned for growth and success.

Think Strategically
When planning for a company’s future, it is essential to research and ensure that all potential markets, clients, products, employees, revenue, and margins line up. Getting caught up in chasing a great idea with little chance of delivering profit is easy, but this is not the most efficient use of resources. It is essential to be realistic and focus on opportunities more likely to succeed. This way, you can avoid wasting time and money chasing a dream that may be impossible to achieve. Plan for the future by researching and setting achievable goals to ensure the most successful outcome for your company.

Problem-Solving on All Levels
Managers are constantly pressured to do more with less in today’s business climate. As companies downsize and workloads increase, there is less and less time for managers to step back and think about strategy. This can be detrimental to the long-term success of the company. Make sure your managers have time to think. Set aside time each week for them to reflect on the current state of the business and develop strategies for moving forward. This will help ensure that your company can adapt and thrive in an ever-changing marketplace. One of the most important things a company can do is have regular management skills meetings. In these meetings, managers can report challenges and identify the company’s top goals. Starting and ending each session on time is crucial so everyone remains focused. These meetings are an excellent opportunity for managers to brainstorm and come up with new ideas, and they also provide a chance for managers to get feedback from their colleagues. Ultimately, these meetings help to ensure that the company is on track and moving in the right direction.

Establishing a plan of small steps to accomplish larger goals is critical to any successful business. By working with managers to identify these steps and set a timeline for each, you can ensure that your company is progressing towards its strategic objectives. However, it is essential to remember that not everything will go according to plan. Estimating longer timeframes slightly for critical activities will give you some wiggle room in case of delays or unforeseen obstacles. Taking this proactive approach will allow your company to stay on track, even when things don’t go exactly as planned.

Tips for Developing More Strategic Management Skills
❱ Use meetings to ensure managers take time out of their busy day to re-focus, plan, and reflect on what’s working and needs fixing.
❱ Give managers exercises to complete between meetings.
❱ Challenge them to research solutions outside the company and gather information from various internal sources.
❱ Meet managers one-on-one to guide participation.
❱ Find out what’s getting in the way. Do they lack commitment, or do they need training?
❱ Make it easier for managers to sort through the noise of day-to-day as they practice prioritizing strategies.
❱ Report on crucial result areas tied to thinking strategically.
❱ Make sure that whatever you plan to track is easy to get to and links directly to the company’s long-term goals.
❱ Regularly re-focus on the top priorities.

Although some managers are born strategic thinkers, many struggle with thinking strategically. Luckily, there are ways to help these struggling managers. Business owners and employees can encourage their managers to think more strategically by providing them with resources and training as well as setting an example for themselves.   [CD0323]


Andi Gray is the founder of Strategy Leaders. She can be reached at andi@strategyleaders.com.