These words of David Campbell, scholar, author and CCL colleague, capture the tricky essence of strategy, according to Katherine Beatty. She writes in the introduction to a new book, The Leadership in action Series: On Strategic Leadership, “in organizations and in life — it pays to have a vision for your organization, goals for your performance plan, a map for your drive to a new destination, and a definition of what you are attempting to develop as a leader.”
Yet developing strategic leadership skills and implementing the work of strategy is challenging to many managers and organizations. The Leadership in action Series: On Strategic Leadership — which is drawn from articles published in CCL’s Leadership in Action between 2000 and 2010 — is intended to help you explore a wealth of perspectives on strategic leadership.
Beatty describes the book as a “kaleidoscope,” offering multiple images of strategic leadership, beginning with a piece she co-authored with CCL colleague Laura Quinn: “Strategic Command: Taking the Long View for Organizational Success.”
In another essay, Andrew P. Kakabadse discusses how a focus on corporate social responsibility can even expand that definition — strategic leadership is not just about the success of the organization but also about the responsibility the organization has to the larger community and environment.
Shifting your gaze to the strategy-execution gap, you’ll read how Gary Yukl and Richard Lepsinger, as well as Beatty and Quinn, frame the problem and consider ways to bridge that gap.
The ability to learn — as individuals and collectively within organizations s another lens through which to pursue strategic leadership. Learning is best accomplished while doing the work of the organization, and must also be linked directly to organizational outcomes, Beatty notes. Work by Michael Beer and Magnus Finnström; Frank P. Bordonaro; and Scott Mondore, Shane Douthitt and William A. Gentry provide different perspectives on this aspect of developing strategic leadership.
With insights from these and other authors, The Leadership in action Series: On Strategic Leadership will give you other dimensions (and approaches) to consider. As you think about the current “state of strategy” in your business, the book is well worth the read.