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.

LSA has become the gold standard in team building and management training at Genomic Health! I have a hard time finding facilitators that come close to their level of customization, expertise and experience.

Emily Couey
Director of Human Resources

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

Congratulations on your pro-activity in establishing this program and developing such an effective New Employee Orientation course.

Farhat Ali
President and Chief Executive Office

Fujitsu

Avon’s success is dependent on strong relationships among our Customers, Representatives, Associates, and outside resources we hire to help us meet our business objectives. We were very pleased with the results from working with LSA Global to design and facilitate a custom program for our events management team. LSA demonstrated responsiveness, flexibility, and an innovative approach to working with us.

Deanna Rudnitsky
Senior Manager, HR Destiny Sales Region

LSA’s consultant designed and delivered a half-day team building solution for our recent conference. It included careful customization to integrate the design with our new mission and values. Everyone had fun and identified key issues with our teamwork. Altogether a great program!

Bob Ward
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

Over the years, both at 3Com and now at Redback, I’ve found LSA Global to be a valuable resource. The recent compliance program that they delivered for Redback’s executive and management team was the right solution, of the highest of quality, and customized to our business and culture. I would highly recommend LSA to any company looking for top quality solutions.

Gina Fulton
Vice President of Human Resources

LSA’s customized Effective Presentation Skills program has helped me elevate my presentation skills to the next level. I now have a much greater self-awareness of my presentation skills and can leverage off of my strengths while working to improve upon other areas. I would definitely recommend this solution to anyone for whom business presentations are an integral part of their job.

Jim Elliott
Senior Marketing Manager

Samsung

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

The Managing Virtual Teams program was extremely valuable. Your consultant/ facilitator’s fundamental knowledge of Synopsys as a company provided an incredible base to build upon while tackling the complications of managing and working with globally distributed teams. My team walked away walked away with highly useful practices and tools. It was an excellent use of our time.

Debra Martucci
Vice President, Information Technology

I have worked with LSA Global at previous companies and welcomed the opportunity to bring them in to support my new organization. We worked closely with LSA to design a solution for our Client Partner Teams and Management Training on both coasts. LSA designed a customized solution for our business and organizational culture. LSA is a quality organization, one that I’d recommend to any company looking for a first class training and consulting partner that makes an impact.

Laurie Torres
Chief People Officer

We recently partnered with LSA Global to offer our Supervisors and Managers a customized two-day management training program. Everyone who attended said it was by far the best management training program they had ever attended. The content was rich and highly interactive. The case studies were relevant. Each participant walked away from the training much better equipped to lead their teams.

Jeff Coon
Director of Human Resources

In the Next Generation Management Development courses, I was trained with skills and tools that have made me and my team more productive, motivated, and successful at communicating with other departments.

 

Kevin Ashman
Firmware Engineering Supervisor

We contacted LSA to help us with customized management development. LSA worked with me to identify a solution that would meet our exact needs. We decided to start at the top and ran the program for our executive team. It was such a great success that we hope to roll it out companywide. We look forward to a long-term partnership with LSA Global and their team of experts.

Barry L. Byrd, SPHR
Human Resources Manager

Each program is preceded by an assessment of the participants. The course is then designed to fit the specific parameters and needs of the group. The highly interactive delivery is provided by recognized experts in their fields. On the spot coaching is provided during the program and each participant receives individual follow-up after the course. Courses can be delivered in-person or virtually. Given the nature of Cisco’s business and the way we operate, these remote workshops are a must for anyone who joins our company. Their work is eye opening. Great content and fantastic delivery.

Frank J. Kuypers
Business Development Manager

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