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The principles of strategic management for good leaders

Strategic Management
  • Jan 17 2018

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What is strategic management?

Strategic management is largely what it says on the tin: employing a strategic framework to achieve short- and long-term business objectives consistently and efficiently. But while it may seem simple on the surface, the actual execution of strategic management can quickly become mired in confusion – especially as a business grows and becomes more complex.

According to the Brighton School of Business and Management, strategic management is where the resources available to an organisation are brought together: operations, marketing, R&D and other organisational functions are all analysed to best determine how they can be used to reach business goals. As a result of strategic management, everyone in the company should have a clear understanding of how these goals are going to be achieved and what their role will be.

The link between strategic management and leadership

Considering that the outcome of strategic management is a roadmap to achieve business objectives, it naturally follows that effective leadership is needed to guide stakeholders as they use this roadmap to navigate forward. Without solid leadership skills, managers risk losing the commitment of their teams and jeopardise the overall outcome. Similarly, without strategic management leaders might not have the clear and structured direction needed to achieve desirable results with limited available resources.

This link between strategic management and leadership highlights the need for business leaders to be able to strategically adapt to unexpected challenges and transformations. Unfortunately, strategic leadership isn’t nearly as commonplace in the global business environment as one would hope. According to a recent PwC study of 6 000 senior executives, in which respondents answered a series of open-ended questions to gauge their leadership and management styles, only 8% showcased genuine strategic leadership.

The core principles of strategic leadership

Thankfully, there are a number of ways managers can start applying strategic leadership in their professional context. In the autumn 2016 issue of Strategy+Business, Jessica Leitch, David Lancefield and Mark Dawson outlined 10 principles of strategic leadership to help managers get on the right path.

Their 10 principles of strategic leadership are:

1.      Distribute responsibly

2.      Be honest and open about information

3.      Create multiple paths for raising and testing ideas

4.      Make it safe to fail

5.      Provide access to other strategists

6.      Develop opportunities for experience-based learning

7.      Hire for transformation

8.      Bring your whole self to work

9.      Find time to reflect

10.   Recognise leadership development as an ongoing practice

For a more detailed look at the vital role of strategic leadership in the modern workplace, you can read their full article here.

At the University of Stellenbosch Business School, we understand the inherent link between strategic management and impactful business leadership. This is why we focus on both responsible leadership and strategic management in our postgraduate programmes. If you’re an aspiring business leader who would like to develop the skills and experience you need to inspire those around you and make a positive impact in your organisation, apply for a Leadership Development programme at USB today.

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