So what is the deal you wonder? I ran across an article somewhere talking about how strategic leaders have to make the transition to operational leaders at some point. So that got me thinking.
WHAT ARE STRATEGIC LEADERS?
Leading the Way – not just for the people in the organization but also among organizations and businesses
Strategic leaders have to be charismatic and motivating. They inspire people and have a knack for recruiting talent, discovering potential and looking for new opportunities. Such people are willing to take risks to get the job done.
Of course that’s not all they have to be. Strategists have to see the big picture or perhaps the whole picture as best they can. That’s not just within an organization – I’d say it has to be in the whole area that they’re working in. At this stage of modern society, strategic leaders have to thinking locally and globally.
Perhaps said, they need to be looking at this as not just a leader of an organization or business. They need to essentially see themselves in the context of a champion among society. That’s real leadership – ahem, strategically speaking.
Strategy is vision outwards.
WHAT ARE OPERATIONAL LEADERS?
Operational leaders need to know how to keep things running. They need to plan, manage finances, manage people, logistics, operations, training and the development of the organization or business. If strategic leaders are those who focus outwards then operational leadership is the ability to focus inwards.
Operational leaders will need to be flexible and charismatic as well. It’s as much about managing human relationships as it is managing legalities and the other nitty gritty stuff.
They too also need to be able to recruit the right people for the right task at the right time or nurture and grow it from someone already within.
Operations is vision inwards.
The Living Machine – knowing the inner workings is vital – this isn’t some mechanical device, your organization has to breathe, enjoy sunlight, know the rain…
Leadership within an organization needs both – obvious right? Like night and day. Like rain or shine. Like Starsky and Hutch or Anthony and Cleopatra. You get the picture.
Either you have both or you have 2 people. Maybe within 1 person or perhaps within 2 people. After all, more heads are better than 1 unless you get bogged down (so maybe 2 still works) – which means you’d have to find the optimal number of people for leadership.
Have multiple leaders with specialties in either strategy or operations does allow better concentration and focus. Of course in many situations for small organizations or businesses for example that just can’t happen yet.
An organization is like a living creature. Each part alone (strategy or operations) makes not a thriving beast. Put them together and that’s when the organization’s alive and well. And so it is one must manage the internal and external.
Strategy + Operations = Total Vision.
There are a lot of organizations and businesses that are stagnating. The big and powerful ones – that have grown too large for their own good (absolute power corrupts absolutely) lack the strategic or operational leadership. We have plenty of examples today from the Wall Street fiasco.
Where are they when it comes to doing social and environmental good (strategic)? The ethics? Fostering spirit and good will in the community?
Where are they on taking care of its employees instead of providing 6 digit salaries to CEOs who may or may not have proven themselves worthy? (operational) Where’s the child care for mothers? Where’s the efforts to foster good will within the organization?
All parts of an organization have to be aligned – like a hot knife cutting through hard butter. Focused, sharp. The strategic leader guides the knife, the operational leader keeps the knife sharp. One leader or within many.
In both, ethics, social and environmental responsibility are integral – to being ahead of the game in the local, national and global arena (strategic) as well as inspiring your members and showing them that you really care (operational).
Where do I fall (being a board member for 2 organizations)? Haha – well that’s for another post.Did you like this? If so, please bookmark it, RSS feed.