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Improving Your Team’s Strategic Thinking

PeopleResults, partner and community manager, Marta Steele wrote an article not that long ago about building a team that has both tactical and strategic players.

She said she often hears from executives: “My managerial team needs to be more strategic. I have managers who are fine at executing, but they are not strategic.”

But what does it even mean to be strategic? That word seems to have become a catchall to mean whatever we want it to mean. Steele offers a simple definition of tactical and strategic people.

The strategic person asks what should we be doing and why, which markets and segments will be critical in the future, how will we differentiate ourselves, what trends will impact how we do business, what is happening in the world and how does that apply to our business/my team?

The tactical person asks what resources, plans, decisions, processes and activities need to be in place and/or executed to support the strategy?

To make any team or organization work, there needs to be a balance between strategists and tacticians. With too many strategists, the vision and innovation will never get implemented; with too many tacticians, future events aren't anticipated, they can't see outside of their immediate work priorities, and focus on the details of the day.

Using the Taylor Protocols™ methodology, Innovators and Builders are the most strategic and tactical, respectively. Look over the core values of your team members. Which trait is more dominate? If you find that there are more builders in the team, Steele makes these suggestions to help the team build their strategic thinking muscle:

1. Include a recommended solution and/or options every time you raise a problem or issue. There is a time and place to escalate, but be sure to spend just as much, if not MORE time thinking about how to solve the problem. Otherwise, you just sound like a complainer. And that’s not strategic at all.

2. Provide numbers and data to support your point-of-view, decision or recommendation. Demonstrate how your solution or answer is supported by data. Spend the time exploring research and facts, rather than hunches. When calculations aren’t straight forward, be clear on the assumptions you’ve used.

3. See ahead of today; identify and anticipate upcoming problems or opportunities. A majority of our time is sucked into immediate priorities and demands. Strategic people lift out of the weeds (even if it’s every once in awhile) and peer into the future. They think about a) what’s coming down the road, b) the issues and opportunities that aren’t obvious now, but may pop up later and c) short-term and long-term consequences for taking one approach versus another.

4. Construct work activities and make decisions that support the organization’s strategy. If priorities, time consuming tasks, meetings or decisions do not relate directly to the organizational vision and mission, question whether you should be spending time on them at all.

Steel reminds us that it's not good or bad to fit into one category or the other. However, we also know how important it is to build on our core values that aren't as strong. Which core values are a part of who you naturally are? Which ones could use some work? Take the Core Values Index to find out.

Article Source: Taylor Protocols For more details visit