When you combine the analytical skills of a Chess Grand-master and the creativity of an Artist, you get The Strategist.
Combining these two sets of skills, Strategists enjoy forging new paths and solving problems with insights gained through experience. “Why” and “How” are the two words most frequently used by Strategists. They read their environments in a way that shapes and sets the direction of strategic outcomes.
Strategists are most happy when they can formulate plans to achieve specific goals, more so than actually achieving that goal! So, if you enjoy planning and figuring out ways to get things done, you might have an inner Strategist waiting to break out.
What Makes A Strategist?
Patterns are the Strategist’s best friend. Their ability to spot connections between events and data, coupled with their strong analytical skills makes them uniquely adept at business strategy. They are able to convert ideas into commercially focused plans. Strategists often use their ability to see the bigger picture to make predictions about the future.
Previous patterns that have become clear to them give them the ability to recognise similar patterns in the future. This ability is often seen in Chief Marketing Officers who can visualise trends in consumer behaviour, or a Doctor who is able to make a diagnosis based on a pattern of symptoms.
As people, Strategists usually attempt to make sense of the world around them – that’s where the “Why” and “How” come in. They are driven by a desire to understand why and how things happen, and will often use that previous insights to hypothesize “if this, then this”.
Making sense of things will help the Strategist to be spurred into action. Understanding how or why something happened will inspire them to formulate new ways to solving current challenges, and create a clear roadmap for other team members or colleagues to follow.
The Strategist is often the key between Game-Changers and Implementers.
- They can take the raw ideas from Game-Changers and translate them into an actionable plan for Implementers to realise.
- They play an important role in making ideas become reality and will be most happy when they can connect the dots, so to speak – just don’t expect them to actually carry out their own plan as they may already be on to the next one!
When placed in a leadership position, The Strategist will lead with new tactics and strategies. They will often fall back on what has gone before, as they apply previous patterns to new concepts. Their optimism and energy will inspire others to action, especially when presenting a well-organised plan.
Strategists should be careful though, as their enthusiasm for new ways of doing can often distract them from following through. This means that each Strategist should have an Implementer as co-pilot, to help them stay on course and finish the task at hand, before jumping to a new idea. Generally, their positive attitude and “tried and tested” approach to strategies means their ideas become concrete courses of action, and action will help others feel strong and effective in achieving the team’s goals.
Top 5 Tips for Being a Successful Strategist
Tip 1: Develop strong planning skills
This may seem like a strange tip considering the Strategist’s strongest asset is their ability to create plans, but strong planning capabilities will help them distinguish the relevant ideas from the chaos of their fruitful imagination. Being able to plan well will also help them to create a clear path between strategy and implementation, and present that to relevant team members.
Tip 2: Brush up on pattern spotting
The Strategist’s natural ability to spot patterns and trends can further be honed by reading relevant industry news, networking, and attending conferences. Tackling these activities with an analytical mindset will help Strategists to improve their ability to see the bigger picture.
Tip 3: Find a Co-Pilot
As we already know, Strategists can be very enthusiastic and need the tempering influence of an Implementer. Discussing ideas with an Implementer will help Strategists to perform a reality-check on their strategies and help them iron out any practical hiccups there might be, before finalising their ideas into concrete plans of action.
Tip 4: Work on Being Business-Savvy
Coming up with new strategies is a great start, but being able to approach challenges with a commercially-driven solution in mind will really get a Strategist noticed. Improving a company’s bottom line is a sure-fire way to a more successful career. Developing strong business acumen can help Strategists place their strategies in a commercial context.
Tip 5: Engage Hearts and Minds
A key part of the Strategist’s role is to articulate their views and vision in such a way that it appeals to the hearts and minds of their colleagues. Good strategies that are clearly explained will create a sense of certainty and excitement amongst team members (hearts) and will promote commercial opportunities (minds).
In short, the Strategist is the perfect blend between imagination and pragmatism, creative and analytical. They form the link between idea-generating Game-Changers and practical Implementers, with qualities from both overlapping in the Strategist. With the freedom to run with their ideas, periodically checked by an Implementer, Strategists form an integral part of any successful team.
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