It’s no secret that crafting a leadership strategy is a fundamental part of strategy execution, and that achieving superior performance is essential. But what is leadership strategy all about? How are business and leadership strategy linked? How do we “craft” leadership strategies to accomplish superior performance?
I like to describe the relationship between leadership and business strategies like inter-woven strands of DNA that, together, link the potential of the organization and superior performance over time.
If the business strategy sets the direction for moving the organization from today’s competitive position to tomorrow’s enduring success, the leadership strategy is the human enabler of execution.
Here’s a quick look at the distinct elements of a comprehensive approach to leadership:
Element 1: Leadership Drivers of Business Strategy
What is absolutely essential for organizational leaders to accomplish in order to successfully execute?
The starting point of a leadership strategy is to review the business strategies and identify the leadership competencies and capabilities that are needed to implement them. These are the drivers that require strategic investment in order to lay the foundation of enduring organizational success.
Drivers are the levers that — if pulled — will catapult business strategies forward. They are areas to prioritize and invest in to ensure the organization’s capability to execute its plans. And they are the essential factors that — with dedicated time, energy, and funds — will determine success.
Element 2: Leadership Culture
What type of culture is necessary in order to foster organizational success?
Leadership culture is the self-reinforcing web of individual and collective beliefs, practices, behaviors, and patterns in an organization. It’s the way leaders interact, make decisions, and influence others in their efforts to create direction, alignment, and commitment. The leadership culture has a direct impact on your organization’s ability to achieve the business strategies you have set.
Element 3: Talent Systems
Are the organization’s current talent systems and leadership architecture aligned with desired competencies and leadership culture?
Good leadership strategies address the need to attract, retain, and develop the talented people — throughout the organization — who are critical to meeting the organization’s goals. It looks beyond the current business needs and sets into motion talent sustainability.
Element 4: Organizational Design
Do the organization’s structures, systems, and processes strengthen the ability for culture and leadership to evolve in support of business strategies?
Organizational design may strengthen or inhibit the ability of leadership to enact change, transform the organization, and achieve enduring performance potential. Structures, systems, and processes should be designed to serve strategy — not the other way around.
This post is adapted from the white paper Bridging the Performance/Strategy Gap: How Leadership Strategy Drives Business Results.