4 Leadership Steps for Better Strategic Conversations

A man stands confused at Better Strategic Conversations

Better Strategic Conversations Matter
Better strategic conversations are important.  Strategic clarity accounts for 31% of the difference between high and low performing organizations.  To create strategic clarity, leaders must be able to have better strategic conversations to decisively move the business and the workforce forward.

The Definition of Strategic Clarity
We define strategic clarity as a strategic plan or decision that is:

  • Clearly understood by all stakeholders
  • Fully committed to by leadership across the company
  • Highly responsive to change when it matters most
  • Consistently and successfully implemented throughout the organization

How Do You Know If You Need Better Strategic Conversations?
If you find your leadership team having long, redundant, tangential, shallow, narrow or vertical conversations, you probably need to improve your leaders’ ability to hold better strategic conversations – especially when the stakes are high.

  • For example, a recent client ran a two-day strategy retreat with their global executive team to make some critical decisions regarding target clients, account growth, acquisitions, resource allocation and work quality.
  • While it sounds pretty straightforward for a group of experienced and smart leaders, they were not prepared to hold a complex, fast-moving and collaborative strategic conversation.
  • Instead, they went down rabbit holes, debated myopic details, made erroneous assumptions, crossed personal boundaries and rehashed previous discussions.

Needless to say the CEO was frustrated.  He went to great lengths and expense to bring his top team together to address their biggest challenges and did not get the outcome he desired.

What Problem Are You Trying To solve?
One important lesson here is that you must clearly understand and define the problem before you can design a strategy that can effectively address it.  Albert Einstein said, “If I were given one hour to save the planet, I would spend 59 minutes defining the problem and one minute resolving it.” Few of us spend that much proportional time understanding the problem first…but our solutions might be far more effective if we did.

4 Leadership Steps for Better Strategic Conversations
Leaders must get better at asking the right questions so that they address the right problems and have the right conversations. To have better strategic conversations, follow these four guidelines before the “real conversation” begins:

1.  Articulate
Clearly articulate the big problem you are trying to solve or the big question you are trying to answer.

2.  Agree
Agree upon why it needs to be solved or answered compared to other priorities. Determine how it aligns with your current strategy, culture and brand promise.

3.  Understand
Understand the current situation, complications and implications – including lessons learned from previous attempts at solutions.

4.  Craft
Craft a specific problem or question statement to ground and begin the conversation.

The Most Common Mistakes
You’d be surprised how often leaders:

  • Advocate positions without discussing the strategic choices available
  • Ask for feedback when there is no desire to change direction
  • Discuss subjects that have little strategic relevance that would be better discussed offline or one-on-one.

The Bottom Line
Better strategic conversations create clear strategies.  clear strategies create commitment and focus that drive positive change. Are your leaders capable of having better strategic conversations at the right levels?

To learn more about having better strategic conversations, Download The Top 7 Strategic Clarity Warning Signs

Comments are closed.

What a personal and professional pleasure it has been to Partner with LSA. They are truly a strategic partner with Wyse. For more than 5 years, LSA has been engaged in delivering various training and development solutions for Wyse, from custom on-site programs targeting specific core competencies, to working individually with clients to build job skills, and offering invaluable services to me and my team as we continue to build our learning programs. LSA’s representatives do more than sell a product, they offer a full service solution: they understand our business, our strategic initiatives, and the needs of our customers.

Jeff Rangel
Director of HR

LSA is an instrumental training outsourcing partner in helping us to build management capacity and strategically invest in our people. Their flexibility, depth, and breadth of expertise allows us to deliver top quality solutions that are directly tied to key business plans. Their ability to custom design, deliver, and evaluate our Management Curriculum has been excellent. They are true business partners and a pleasure to work with.

Margaret M. Mader
Vice President, Human Resources

Hyperion

LSA Global’s consultant brought a fresh perspective to our behavioral based interviewing strategy for two key executive positions we needed to fill, and their consultant helped us develop questions that produced a much deeper understanding of candidates’ capabilities. I am confident that the two new executives joining our organization have the right skills to add significant value. Throughout the process LSA was also very responsive in dealing with short lead time requests.

Because of the unique nature of our business, Excel is a core application in our accounting organization. After three attempts to find an Excel consultant who is capable of helping our finance team integrate advanced applications into our work processes we found LSA and Alex. He was not only a “Real” Excel expert but was masterful in helping us identify where to use Excel applications in our processes to increase our group’s efficiency.

SPO Partners & Co
Kim Silva, CFO

We signed up with LSA early on–as their 22nd Member! Since then, our organization’s learning needs have increased and decreased and increased again with the changing times. The beauty of the LSA business model is its flexibility…when we needed to supplement our own internal resources, we used LSA services knowing that we could depend on the outstanding quality of the leadership development and management training programs they provide.

Margie Bunting
HR Manager

Our company engaged LSA to do a specialized “train the trainer” program, and the consultant’s performance outdid our exceptionally high standards for such a program. Very crucial to the success of this program was the work done upfront to discuss our needs and to interview key members of our organization so that the program specifically met our goals. Our facilitators continue to comment on the success of the program. Thanks also for the follow-up.

Frank Abbott
Chief Financial Officer

I’ve partnered with LSA Global at two companies now, and I consider them a valuable and trusted training and consulting resource. They recommended just the right solution to address our management development needs and have wonderful facilitators that match YuMe’s culture and style of our management team. I would highly recommend LSA Global to any company wanting to deliver quality learning solutions with a valuable learning and development partner.

Maya Paul
HR Director

We engaged LSA to design and deliver a 6-month custom executive coaching program for a group of our key leaders. The focus of the program was to help a core group of senior leaders to leverage previous investments in management training, to ensure the engagement and retention of key employees, and to push critical strategic initiatives forward. Even with the high expectations of our senior people, LSA has completely exceeded our expectations. I would recommend them to anyone looking to create and implement a custom coaching methodology using proven tools to drive true change.

Ivan Fukumoto
Senior HR Manager - Staffing, Training, & Development

I have worked with other training companies and found it to be more of a seller/buyer relationship than one of matching the right expertise to our business issues. That’s what LSA does – ask the hard questions, listen, and understand our business needs. We receive the benefit of their expertise from assistance with personal development plans to enhancing team performance, to looking at enterprise-wide challenges. It’s all about helping our business succeed as we grow. Right now, LSA is providing great ideas, a fresh approach, and valuable guidance as we develop our management team and accelerate our client relationship management results.

Kristin Westland-Kaune
Director, Team Development

LSA’s approach and ability to bring the best resources to eBay has been a great asset. They really focus on helping us succeed in any way they can and are very flexible in meeting our management and talent needs.

Mike Normant
Learning & Development

ebay

“We turned to LSA to help us custom design and deliver a leadership and management development curriculum to help drive performance. They have done an excellent job diagnosing the business situation, designing an approach that fits our culture, and delivering a first class solution.”

Sally Buchannan
VP Human Resources

Hyperion has a commitment to lifelong learning. LSA helps us provide the right business sales training, management training programs, and leadership development programs at the right time to meet the needs of both individuals and departments. I especially appreciate their ability to listen to my needs and recommend the appropriate facilitators, solutions and content.

Sarah Parks
Senior Project Manager

Hyperion

Harmonic has worked with LSA for over 8 years. We have found their partnership extremely beneficial. We recently implemented a Management Development Program that was designed and customized to support our company’s strategic initiative of hiring, building, and retaining key intellectual property and human talent. We worked closely with LSA to target and implement the right solutions with the greatest impact. I would recommend LSA to any company that’s looking for a trusted training and development partner.

Janice Passarello
Director of Human Resources

LSA’s Employee Engagement Consulting and Survey work has provided critical visibility into: how well our people are holding up under the general economic environment, as well as, the specific challenges that face biotechnology companies in their efforts to discover and develop new medicines; their level of alignment and commitment to XOMA’s Vision and mission critical strategies; how leadership practices and management systems support an environment that engender commitment, and the specific actions that our leaders can take to improve on areas that are important to our people. I highly recommend LSA’s employee engagement solutions.

Chris Wells
Vice President, HR and IT

LSA exceeded all my expectations. We interviewed 7 potential training and consulting partners and selected LSA due to their expertise, flexibility, and breadth and depth of solutions. We were able to construct a management training course from the modules most appropriate to our needs, and are able to provide additional training from their well developed portfolio of experts. Our managers galvanized as a team throughout the session and are better prepared for the rigors of a competitive market.

Mitch Mandich
CEO

Edify

For our go to training outsourcing partner, LSA provides exactly what we want. As always, they deliver outstanding work!

Elizabeth Siebert
Director, Organizational Excellence & Development

Intuit

Evaluate your Performance

Toolkits

Toolkits

Download key published insights and tools from industry experts highlighting best practices in the areas of talent, strategy and culture.

More

Health Checks

Health Checks

Want to know how you stack up against leading organizations?  Receive a complimentary benchmarking analysis courtesy of an LSA Expert.

More

Whitepapers

Whitepapers

Get up to speed on timely solutions critical to your business. Published by LSA Experts based upon client feedback and key industry trends.

More

Methodology

Methodologies

First we identify the key metrics you want to improve. Then we assemble a dedicated team of elite experts who have successfully solved similar problems with similar clients.

More

Blogs

Stay up to do date with the latest information on how we help high growth companies align their culture and talent with strategy.

More

Case Studies

Client Case Studies

Real world consulting and training approaches from LSA projects, providing insights on how your company can outperform the competition.

More