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Tips to Up Your Game as a Strategic Manager

February 14, 2008
manageprouser


 

 

This is the first in an expert series covering topics and suggestions that have a major impact on your relative strength as a strategic manager.

I’m not focusing on the basics in this series, but let’s put them in quickly for review. At the foundation level you need to have accomplished the following tasks and have a technology, like ManagePro, in place to support you and the organization in managing strategically:

·         Build a clear strategic plan based around the top initiatives that (you are betting on will) drive growth

·         Base it on latest market realities and sound critical thinking

·         Build solid action plans to achieve your strategic plan/goals

·         Set in place metrics to give you a dashboard for each strategic objective

·         Assign and follow-up on the results of executing the action plans regularly

 

Be a Strategic Manager by Leveraging Your Time

How you leverage your time directly affects your capacity to manage your own life, as well as the work life of others, strategically. At first glance you may say, “Got it, I already do that, I make good use of my time.” Check that against the three following suggestions and see if you have them as daily habits:

1.       You use the first 15 minutes of every day as strategic time, not email and voicemail time. It’s the time you focus on your prioirities, confirm where you and your team need to get today, and make sure your priorities are reflected in your calendar.

2.       You leverage your time in meetings, so that the largest % is spent in crisp interaction, feedback and identifying next steps… not in listening to verbal reports. Spending a majority of your time in meetings and either doing most of the talking or being a patient listener is not strategic.

3.       You leverage your time by spending 80% on your priorities, on what will “move the numbers”, not on updates, correspondence and problem management.

How did you do on the list above? Imagine that you are 50% more strategic by next week. What would you change as a manager? Ready, let’s cover one more tip.

Be a Strategic Manager by Staying Focused on the Outcome

Being strategic is intimately tied to being outcome versus comfort focused.   Let me see if I can explain the focus on outcomes this way.  What I would like to get across is that to be more strategic as a manager, you want to develop the capacity to have two conversations, two sets of observations going on in your head at once.  Imagine it is like watching TV with the Picture in a Picture activated. You will only focus on one image at a time, but you can flip back and forth immediately.

The two conversations represent the following:

1.       One conversation is about what’s happening at the moment, who you are talking to, the issues they are addressing, the immediate problem, opportunity or process.

2.       The second conversation is referencing outcomes and the relationship of conversation #1 to those outcomes.

I use the following questions in my brain to feed that 2nd conversation.  See if these questions work for you:

1.       Is what we are doing (spending time, resources, etc.) going to get us closer to my latest look at what the outcome is requiring?

2.       Does this (this process, this conversation, this approach, this attitude) work or not?

E.g. Does it help us reach our outcome and consistent with our values?c.How much of what I’m (we’re) doing is truly outcome based versus comfort based (e.g. its familiar, I’ve always done it this way, I don’t know another way to do it and am not looking actively, it’s the way that will keep conflict to a minimum)?

Bottom Line:

Your capacity to manage strategically can improve significantly if you leverage your time and retain a focus throughout the day on outcomes.  Starting with the first 15 minutes of your day, to the questions you ask yourself in the back part of your brain, both leveraging time and maintaining an outcome reference will boost your expertise at being strategic.

Strategic Time 

 


2 Comments. Leave new

BEING A STRATEGIC MANAGER, PEOPLE, USING INFORMATION AND "FAST FOOD" TECHNOLOGY
August 5, 2008 9:19 am

[…] Be a Strategic Manager by Leveraging Your Time […]

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Web 2.0, Profit and Strategic Innovation
February 7, 2011 2:20 pm

[…] Tips to Up Your Game  The 30 minute appeal Project Management + Task Mangement + Performance Management = Strategic […]

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