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Align

Align

A strategic leader must foster open dialogue, build trust, and engage key stakeholders, especially when views diverge. To pull that off:

  • Understand what drives other people's agendas
  • Bring tough issues to the surface, however uncomfortable
  • Assess risk tolerance and follow through to build the necessary support

Think Critically

Think Critically

Following conventional wisdom eventually leads to loss of competitive advantage. Critical thinkers question everything. To master this:

  • Reframe problems to get to the roots of it
  • Challenge current beliefs and mindsets, including your own
  • Uncover hypocrisy, manipulation, and bias in organizational decisions

Learn

Learn

As your company grows, you have to actively seek honest feedback. To get that:

  • Encourage and exemplify honest, rigorous debriefs to extract lessons
  • Shift course quickly if you realize you're off track
  • Celebrate both successes and (well-intentioned) failures that provide insight

Anticipate

Anticipate

Most companies only focus on what’s directly ahead. This can leave your company vulnerable to rivals who detect and act on ambiguous signals. To anticipate well:

  • Look for game-changing information at the periphery of your industry
  • Search beyond the current boundaries of your business
  • Build wide external networks to help you scan the horizon better

Decide

Decide

You have to develop processes and enforce them to arrive at a “good enough” position. To do that well:

  • Carefully frame the decision to get to the crux of the matter
  • Balance speed, rigor, quality, and agility. Leave perfection to higher powers
  • Take a stand even with incomplete information and amid diverse views

Interpret

Interpret

A good strategic leader holds steady, synthesizing information from many sources before developing a viewpoint. To do this well:

  • Seek patterns in multiple sources of data
  • Encourage others to do the same
  • Question prevailing assumptions and test multiple hypotheses simultaneously

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