How to Get Your Employees to Think Strategically by Will Yakowicz at on 10 February 2014

This article starts with a key statistic – planning strategically is what 9,700 of 10,000 senior executives stated as being the most important leadership skill that one can possess.  Thinking ahead, what could the future hold for your organization (business, non-profit, etc,) if you could get your follows to think strategically as well?  In the process of communicating your thoughts on the road ahead to key people within your organization, the author offers the following 5 tips:

  1. Dish out information (people will make better decisions if they are based on complete (or at least better) information)
  2. Create a mentor program (develop your followers!)
  3. Create a philosophy (people will be able to think “what would the leader do” in your absence)
  4. Reward thinking, not reaction (think ahead to foresee potential roadblocks or pitfalls)
  5. Ask “why” and “when” (forces people to truly consider their thoughts and options)

I like the 3rd point – people can come up with amazing solutions if you give them guidelines – in the military it’s called “Commander’s intent.”  Having read this section, subordinate commanders will still have the Commander’s guiding principles in mind when making a decision, even if the Commander isn’t available (absent / injured / unreachable / etc.) for consultation.  This frees you up to think even further ahead.

For those of you who like quotes, the 5th point is an abbreviation of Rudyard Kipling’s advice on councilors:

I keep six honest serving men

(They taught me all I knew)

Their names are What and Why and When

And How and Where and Who.


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