By Jeff Brunings
Why Strategy Needs a Strategy Leader

It’s happens too often—great organizations with solid leadership teams put a lot of effort into creating a great strategy. There’s alignment on strategic direction, priorities, and organizational goals. There’s even collaboration across the functional disciplines of the organization for creating a series of coherent actions believed to drive desired outcomes.

Sounds like they have it nailed, right? Wrong. So, what’s missing?

For successful strategy to be sustainable it needs a strategy leader; someone who will champion execution and ongoing performance management. It’s someone who recognizes they are on point. They orchestrate communication and collaboration while analyzing the performance across functions to find underlying dependencies and inter-relationships between actions and goals.

In addition, a great strategy leader is someone who understands what information needs to be shared, with whom, and for what reasons.

Before getting too deep into strategic planning though you’re best to agree as a team who’ll be taking the position of strategy leader. This person is as vital in the design of the strategy as they are in keeping execution front-and-center.

So what kind of person makes a great strategy leader? Here are 10 attributes we’ve found of successful strategy leaders:

  1. Critical thinker – it takes a thinker who can skillfully analyze and assess strategy to lead a team to execute it.
  2. Deductive reasoning – a great strategy leader can clearly see logic from the top-down.
  3. Communicator – strategy without clear communication is worthless.
  4. Curious – asking the right questions will take your strategy to the next level.
  5. Insightful – a strategy leader must have a deep and accurate understanding of your organization to lead its strategy.
  6. Process-oriented – great leaders know how to put the right processes and people together for the best outcome.
  7. Collaborative – the best strategy leaders know when to reach out to work with individuals with different skill sets than their own.
  8. Respected – your strategy leader needs to have merit in your organization to effectively lead your team.
  9. Focused – drive and determination are key for a strategy champion.
  10. Strategic – for obvious reasons, great leaders can easily relate and identify your organization’s long-term aims and interests.

Think you have someone in mind? Make sure they’re a great fit. Being a strategy leader requires a time commitment. It’s not a person’s full-time job, but it will become one of their core responsibilities. And it doesn’t have to be someone within the C-suite. In fact, often senior management from within operations, sales, or even finance make great strategy leaders.

And lastly, don’t just delegate it to someone. Sell it to them. Help them appreciate why being a strategy leader is not just strategic, but it’s chock-full of personal wins. Being a strategy leader is a high-profile responsibility, where individual skills and talents are allowed to shine. We’ve seen plenty of strategy leaders use their roles to advance within an organization, while appreciating a broad base of support from throughout the organization.

Jeff Brunings

With over 20 years management experience in multi-industry environments, Jeff drives customer experience by advancing the effectiveness of OnStrategy’s cloud-based platform and services.