Should Executives Become More Strategic?

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Jaap de Jonge
Editor, Netherlands

Should Executives Become More Strategic?

Some time ago we had 2 interesting discussions at 12manage "Strategic Planning must be Dynamic" and "Developing an Agile Top Management Team". McKinsey consultants Birshan and Kar argued that top executives should become more strategic.
The beginning of the article rightly states that that even in today's fast-changing competitive environment, companies still have to timely:
- Capture emerging opportunities
- React to unexpected threats
- Make correct and timely decisions
In other words, corporations need strategic agility. To achieve this, the authors suggest to increase the TIME spent on strategy, involving MORE (top) executives in the strategy process, and also to encourage them to CONSTANTLY DEVELOP their strategic capabilities.

The article gives 3 tips for top executives to 'become more strategic':
  1. Develop a guiding industry context by studying, understanding and internalizing the economical, psychological and legal developments in your sector by using:
    A. Specialized sector-readings,
    B. (Custom) executive education and
    C. Off-site strategy sessions, etc.
  2. Become an expert in identifying potential disruptors (technological or other) for example using:
    A. Site visits to technology hubs,
    B. Periodic technical briefings,
    C. Reverse-mentoring relationships with younger colleagues,
    D. Talking to clients,
    E. Watching new competitors, etc.
  3. Possess strong communication tools and skills, for example using:
    A. Special sessions to share strategic insights and
    B. Data that's easy to navigate and use.
⇨ Do you agree that top executives should become more strategic?
Source: Becoming more strategic: Three tips for any executive, Michael Birshan and Jayanti Kar, McKinsey Quarterly, July 2012.

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