Strategic leadership is more of an intuitive practice than an analytical one. Know why developing a strategic mindset is crucial to lead transformation successfully.

“There are four ingredients in true leadership: brains, soul, heart, and good nerves.”

This quote by Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum— breaks it down to the very fundamentals of great leadership.

Before we tread on further about mastering the art of strategic leadership, let’s get started with a quick reality check. As leaders who are at the helm of steering organizations in the right direction — are you able to successfully translate your strategy into actions?

If your answer is no, then you are not alone. As per a survey, only 10% of organizations are able to implement close to two-thirds of their strategy.

If you’re looking to thrive and navigate effectively in an unpredictable environment, then the critical skills of strategic leadership cannot be ignored.

Strategizing in the midst of adversity

As leaders, we are often at our wits’ end juggling multiple priorities at work and responding to the things around us.

With break-neck competition and mounting expectations to deal with, all of us from the financial services industry will agree that we are often caught up in planning our next move.

While we’re locked up in addressing pressing concerns, I cannot stress enough how important it is to step back and look at the bigger picture.

You simply cannot afford to slip into complacency. The perils of “tunnel vision” is a topic for another day, for now, I’d say — avoid limiting your vision by looking only at the immediate horizon. It’s time to look up and plan for what’s further ahead.

Strategic leadership is all about unraveling a broader perspective and avoiding the narrow focus. While most leaders possess remarkable operational skills and are exceptional at routine tasks —they fail to remain resilient in the face of setbacks. Accelerating business transformation entails organizational shifts, and this requires leaders to not only be flexible and resolute but also react strategically to such developments.

The mindset of a strategic leader

67% of well-thought-out strategic plans fail — mostly owing to poor execution.

This can be fixed by encouraging executives to adopt a strategic mindset. Strategic thinking may not come naturally — it’s more of a disciplined mindset, where the power of prioritization and futuristic thinking comes into play.

While operational excellence is commendable, you need to pull back from your daily drill of just putting out fires and plan for the unexpected.

Let’s be clear on one thing — strategic leadership is more of an intuitive practice than an analytical one. Driven by a long-term perspective, strategic leaders never let their guard down. They come prepared to marshal their organization’s resources to better address challenging times.

The winning strategy: 10 principles of strategic leadership

These 10 principles of strategic leadership are at the core of all that we do at Opus. They are the guiding force, driving accountability for the way we lead and add value, every single day.

  1. Be an advocate for innovative thinking and inspire productivity
  2. Seize responsibilities and exercise ownership in everything that you do
  3. Don’t shy away from taking calculated risks
  4. Break down silos and promote collaboration
  5. Don’t just pass the buck, delegate effectively
  6. Stay curious and never stop learning
  7. Trust your gut, don’t be afraid to stand for what you believe in
  8. Encourage inclusive and experiential learning spaces
  9. Create an environment that accepts failure
  10. Attract diverse talents that will transform the organization

Developing strategic leadership capabilities in a drastically changing work environment can be quite a challenging feat. Having said that, when you’re leading the pack, it’s important to cultivate leadership opportunities that will further inspire and ensure organizational success.

To stay updated with the latest developments in the payment and FinTech space, follow me on LinkedIn.

T M Praveen is a highly accomplished global payments leader with over 20 years of experience. A veteran in the payments industry, Praveen has immense wealth of insights to share in payments innovations, emerging technologies, FinTech, and financial services.

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