Chief Executives rely on their management teams to make strategy happen, from Deputy Directors, to Heads of Departments, to functional Managers, to Team Leaders. Managers need to support their teams to deliver on organisational goals and ambitions. Yet, almost every manager we meet on our training programmes has one aim in common: they tell us they need to be more strategic. Or rather, they tell us they have been told to be more strategic. The problem many of them face is that ‘being strategic’ is very mysterious – an intangible quality that seems out of reach. They know that it is linked to leadership, and that they are supposed to be inspiring others. However, it’s hard to inspire other people when you’re not quite sure what it involves yourself.
Let’s start by breaking down what a strategy actually is. Strategy is a plan – a big picture plan – about what you are aiming to achieve, what you do, why you do it and how you are going to go about doing it. Strategy really is that simple. Imagine a strong thread. It connects what you do every day to the world you are trying to create. It binds your actions and decisions together. This thread is Golden, it shines through all the day-to-day emails, calls, meetings, Zooms and everything that you do.
We find it useful to think about organisational strategy as three strands and your Golden Thread binds them:
Being strategic is all about how you build on these three strands. The impulse of your Fundraising and Campaigning teams may well be different, but they need to relate to each other. Their architecture and learning cycles may be different, but still need to connect. Your Golden Thread is the connection that binds your work today to your vision for the future. It also connects functions and people together, as their work may be different, but they share the same vision.
As a manager, ‘being strategic’ begins with working out what your impulse, architecture and learning cycle needs to be, and then using the Golden Thread to connect what you do every day to these three strands. To stay focused on your vision and the change you want to make in the world, your Golden Thread needs to be kept alive. If you cannot see how what you are doing every single day, helps you to get to your vision, then ask yourself: why am I doing this?
Being strategic is also about having a tenacious resolve to get to your vision. This tenacity involves:
Keep your Golden Thread alive during change
A strategy is not static, your ambitions and goals may change over time. However, your vision will stay the same, and your Golden Thread, connecting you to your vision, is the rope that holds you firm and steady when everything changes.
In this way, your Golden Thread also inspires others. If they see, appreciate, and feel connected to the Golden Thread, they will make strategy happen. They will embrace change and hold onto that rope. Being strategic is also about taking practical steps to inspire others:
Being strategic doesn’t need to be a big mystery. Your strategy is the Golden Thread that brings the many strands of your work together. By helping others to connect to it, you keep your strategy alive and others will own it.
We have a range of tools and techniques available to help you find your Golden Thread, keep it alive, and inspire others with it. If you would like to know more, call to speak to one of our experienced consultants on 020 7978 1516, contact us online or email Charlie directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Yvette Gyles, Director