Explaining his strategic template of questions that are organised into three vision phases, Leadership Coach Joseph Ogbonna has recently shared his thoughts and expertise on developing strategic leadership with a coaching mindset here.
A few years ago, I created a strategic template of questions that drew on my loves of strategy and coaching. It has the potential to create clarity for any leader who intends to be strategic. Having drawn from it over the years, we wish to share this tool to engage more leaders to be more strategic.
Being mindful of their well-being and that of others as well as the heightened awareness of connectedness in our world, the true colour of leadership is even more apparent. To be their best, an individual must bring their full self to work and that self must be aligned to the organisation’s mission as the organisation aligns with the external environment.
The template is organised in 3 vision phases:
One must lead self to inspire and lead others into a desirable future. That leadership requires grounding in self-knowledge and authenticity.
This requires asking deep questions of oneself, perhaps at a quiet time, in a secluded place, perhaps with the aid of a trusted person who will encourage and not come to rescue in their discomfort?
The following questions may stretch and feel uncomfortable, however they are guaranteed to reveal personal insights:
What do you admire about yourself? Who are you being when you are most happy? Think of someone you wish you were. Who are they that you wish you were? Who are they that you are glad you are not?
If you had limitless resources, what would bring you happiness and joy? What value do you place on your work? What value do you place on your other role(s)? In what ways do your work and your other roles benefit the people around? Write a 10-word epitaph you would love to have on your tombstone?
What do you have that you are satisfied with? What strengths or skills do you have that are desirable to people around you? How is your financial situation and how do you feel about this? What do you have that you can bring to make your personal and work relationships better?
What ideals are personally important and meaningful to you? What qualities do you want to have to be your best? What opportunities do you presently have for living these qualities?
It is 5 years from now and you are fulfilled, being the person you want to be, doing the things that are important to you and feeling the way you want to feel. In that vision, what are you doing, where are you, who and what is around you? Where is your energy coming from?
An organisation, thinks and acts only through its people. It therefore requires certain structures to ensure it points in the right direction for its people and other resources they must deploy to meet achieve what is required of them. This article is at the strategic level and does not delve into the detail of internal structures and communications required for implementation of the strategy.
What is the Mission statement? What remains relevant today in this statement?
What qualities or ideals are required to guide behaviour on this Mission? How would you know if these qualities or ideals are in place? At present, which of these qualities are evident 80% of the time in employees?
What will it look, feel, smell, sound like when the Mission is achieved? How long do you expect will it take to achieve this Mission? What milestones do you have in place to let you know you are moving towards this Mission?
Who is essential to the achievement of this Mission? What requirement do you have for a match between their personal ideals and those required for the Mission? What other resources must you have in place to achieve this Mission? How well is the organisation moving towards the Mission? What is missing?
The business operates in an environment which generates forces that impact it and to which it must respond as it strives towards its mission. Leaders are called to regularly raise their heads towards the horizon to scan for signs of what change is afoot. A superior response to its competitors often makes the difference in the short term and affects achievement of the mission.
How often do you scan the general environment for factors and forces that might impact your business – political, economic, social, technological, legal, environmental (PESTLE)? Of all the factors you have identified above, prioritise 7 of them and consider how each of these 7 could surprise you? What could cause them to be considerably different from what you would ordinarily expect to surprise you?
How would you know that this change is happening? What would the impact of this difference be for your sector? Roughly quantify the positive or negative impact each of them could have on your sales, revenues, costs, customer loyalty.
What would alert your industry sector to this change? How quickly would the sector realise the change and respond? How different would this response be for your business? How would your competitors respond?
To ensure you achieve your mission, what would you do differently in the next 24 hours with the new insights you have gained? In the next 28 days? What else do you want to ensure is done? What could get in the way of this response? Who will lead the action? Who else will undertake specific tasks to take it forward?
In conclusion, we have shared a sample of the questions for individual or team conversations facilitated skillfully to engender trust. This engagement can result in profound change and top performance.
As a leader who desires success, if all or a part of the content strikes a chord and you wish to experience the full template, please feel free to contact us to discuss how we can help you and your people.