7 ways to be more strategic in your role

This week I’m answering this question:

“I feel like I really need to start being more strategic in my role, however, to be honest I’m unsure how to start, or how to fit it in to an already busy day. Any ideas?’

Great question.

Being strategic is a great thing to build into your role as a manager. It will help you be more pro-active, and focused on the goals that you and your team need to achieve. However, if you’re currently spending a lot of your time fire-fighting, it can be tricky to know how to build in that time, or know where to start.

If this is where you are give these tips a try:

  1. Plan in some time

It’s so easy to get swamped with daily tasks, but in order to be more strategic you need a bit of space to think. The best way to do this is to plan that time in your diary on a regular basis and not let that block of time get used for anything else. If you’re wondering where that time is going to come from, in an already busy schedule, start with just 30 minutes once a month and see how it goes.

2. Look to the future

As Steven Covey said in his fantastic book 7 Habits of Highly Effective PeopleStart with the end in mind’. This is such a good tip. Spend some time looking at what the end goal looks like, or if you’re not sure about this, have a think about what you’d like to achieve in 6 months or a year, and work back from there.

3. Refer to the wider business or department strategy

If possible, refer to a wider business strategy so you know that what you’re thinking about ties in with where the business is going. It also really helps you to focus on what’s important at that moment in time.

4. Be clear about what you need to achieve

When in planning mode it can be tempting to get carried away with new ideas and different ways of doing things. However, it’s important to also remember the main focus in your role, or in your team, and ensure that these are met.

4. Get your team involved

You don’t need to have a full team away day to be strategic as a team. Instead, ask your team what they should be focusing on in the next 6 months in your team meeting and use Post-it Notes to gather all the suggestions on the wall. By asking some good open questions as you go, you’ll keep the creative juices flowing. This will also enable your team to feel bought into your strategy, and might also bring up some fantastic new ideas, or potential problems or risks that you’d not thought about.

5. Be clear on your actions

Once you’ve got an idea of where you’re going, take some time to think of the actions that it’s going to take to get you there. By taking the time to split these down into smaller chunks they’ll feel so much more achievable.

6. Deadlines and targets

If applicable it may be appropriate to set some deadlines and targets for your new actions. You know the saying: ‘What get’s measured get’s done’ so how will you know when you’ve achieved what you need to? Is there a specific timescale, or is there a target that you need to be working towards?

7. Create a habit

If you’re wanting to start being more strategic in your role, aim to make it a habit. It doesn’t have to be anything big or time consuming, simply by booking the time to do some planning on a regular basis will help you build it into your role.

 

I’d love to hear your tips and thoughts…let me know by leaving a comment.

 

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