‘Importance of strategic leadership BY ZAOWALUGEMBE The importance of strategic leadership: Discussing the role of strategic leadership in ……. 12 determining the organization’s strategic direction 1. 0 Introduction… of strategic leadership in determining the strategic direction of an .. 4 2. 1 Shared vision, mission and core 4 2. 2 Change management and adaptability…….. Growth of an Building a positive organizational culture ??” … 8 2. 5 Environmental scanning… ………………………………………… .. 9 2. 6 Resource allocation and management……………………….. . 10 2. 7 Yielding profit in a non-profit making 10 3. 0 Conclusion……………………………………………………………………………………… …. 11 4. 0 References ??” ??” ??” 1. 0 Introduction Strategic leadership is important to organizations for a variety of reasons. Organizations have discovered that strategic leadership is a pathway to success. It is noted in the business environment that more organizations succeed using strategic leadership and those organizations which do not use strategic leadership meet with failure and ruin.
To define well is to understand well therefore to comprehend well he importance of strategic leadership in determining the organization’s strategic direction, there is need to define well the concept of strategic leadership. Rowe (2001) defines strategic leadership as the ability to influence others to voluntarily make day to day decisions that enhance the long term viability of the organization while at the same time maintaining its short term financial stability.
Ireland and Hitt (2005) indicate strategic leadership as a person’s ability to anticipate, envision, maintain flexibility, think strategically, and work with others to initiate changes that will create viable future for the organization. Glenn and Medhi (2009) define strategic leadership as the ability to influence others in your organization to voluntarily make day to day decisions that lead to the organization’s long term growth and survival, and maintain its short- term financial health.
Quong and Walker (2010) in their The role … 3 2. 0 …… 5 2. 3 ……. 6 2. 4 principles about strategic leaders which exhibit the importance of strategic leadership and these include: Strategic leaders are future oriented and have a future strategy; Strategic leaders are evidence based and research led; Strategic leaders get hings done; Strategic leaders open new horizons; Strategic leaders are fit to lead; Strategic leaders make good partners; and finally strategic leaders do the next right thing.
The aspects that stand out in understanding strategic leadership and its importance are ; its being able to influence others in a clearly set direction due to a set vision which is God given; being flexible to any change as one remains connected to God; making decisions that lead to long term growth in alignment with the purpose of God. “A man’s heart plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps (Proverbs 16:9, NKJV).
In my account of the importance of strategic leadership in determining the organization’s strategic direction, I focus on the following: Shared vision, mission and core values; Change management and adaptability; Growth of the organization; Resource allocation and management; Building a positive organizational culture; Environmental scanning; and finally yielding profit in a non- profit making organization. Strategic leadership is a combined responsibility of the leader and the followers in the organization at large. 2. The role of strategic leadership in determining the strategic direction of an organization; 2. 1 Shared ision, mission and core values Basing on the definitions of strategic leadership, the characteristic of setting direction comes out clearly and it is reflected when the aspects of vision, mission and core values of the organization are well stipulated in an organization’s strategy. This shows that strategic leadership takes account of the future that is it tries to fore see the events in the future and anticipates for them.
Glenn and Medhi (2009) indicate that the most important aspects of strategic leadership are shared values and a clear vision, both of which will enable and allow employees to make decisions with minimal ormal mentoring or control mechanisms. Having a shared vision, mission and values among the members of the organization is a key factor of building team work and a shared sense of purpose within the organization thus creating synergy.
Rowe (2001) states that strategic leadership presumes a shared vision of what an organization is to be, so that the day to day decision making or emergent strategy process is consistent with the vision. Preedy et al (2004), indicate that the formulation of a mission statement is often recommended as one of the stages in strategic planning, a component of strategic leadership. They further state that a mission statement is a declaration of organizational purpose, designed to inspire and focus the efforts of all the members of the organization.
A biblical example of the importance of strategic leadership in exhibiting the concept of shared vision, mission and core values is when David shared a godly vision of building a temple for the LORD to the children of Israel who embraced it because of his influence. The Israelites offered before God (mobilized required resources) and he handed over the strategy with all requirements necessary for building the temple to his son Solomon. Solomon together with the children of Israel accomplished this task (1 Chronicles 28 and 29).
According to Wikipedia, managing change and ambiguity requires strategic leaders who not only provide a sense of direction, but also build ownership and alignment adaptability Strategic leadership enables organizations to embrace change and utilize it to their advantage and hence receive a comparative advantage that increases their ability to compete and remain efficient in the market place. Ireland and Hitt (2005) indicate an aspect of change in organizations when they say that competition in the 21st Century’s global economy will be complex, challenging, and filled with competitive opportunities and threats.
Therefore effective leadership practices can help organizations enhance performance while competing in turbulent and unpredictable environments. Strategic leadership if done well especially with emphasis on implementation and monitoring can contribute significantly to achieving strategic competitiveness and earning above- average returns for the organization. Strategic leadership enhances organizations to take change management seriously and the flexibility it provides enables organizations to adapt and effectively change with the uickly adapting global business market place.
Jeff (2013) indicates that change always tends to create a sense of uncertainty, stress, and anxiety for employees and sometimes this can be interpreted as resistance by change agents who are already aware of the change and the end results but strategic leadership involves strategic leaders sacrificing or spending countless hours developing, revising and strategizing about how the change will improve business operations or advance the organization. To conclude this aspect of change management and adaptability, I end with what
Safford (2005) indicates, that strategic planning, a component of strategic leadership is a tool designed to help leaders cope more intelligently and creatively with the “white water” of change. Change is a fact of life and must occur in the organization and most cases unpredictably, but the element of flexibility provided by strategic leadership gives room to address it. 2. 3 Growth of the organization An organization should not remain stagnant- it should continually register growth every year.
Growth in the areas of: infrastructure, financial income, capacity say if it is a church or a school among others. Even from the biblical perspective, there are many examples where God reflects the aspect of growth and some of them include: the growing in number of the tribe of Israel from Abraham as promised; but the word of God grew and multiplied (Acts 12:24); I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase (1 Cor 3:6). Ireland and Hitt (2005) indicate that through effective leadership, an organization can be mobilized so that it can adapt its behaviors and exploit different growth opportunities.
They further indicate that effective strategic leadership enables organizational members to work together and find ways to match he organizational resources, capabilities, and core competences with relevant growth oriented opportunities. Safford (2005) indicates two aspects of strategic planning, a component of strategic leadership that are an ingredient to growth of an organization and these are survival and organizational renewal. He says that, “Any institution that takes its continued survival for granted is already on the road toward extinction. In my view meaning that survival of an organization gives chance to growth and its growth also gives chance to its survival. He further states that trategic planning, when based on wise and creative strategic thinking, can be a tool that contributes to organizational renewal and encourages a regular re-examination and trends in the environment along with identification of adaptive strategies that will enable retention of core values while deploying new initiatives and strategies for success. This definitely is leading the organization in the strategic direction of growth due to strategic leadership. . 4 Building a positive organizational culture The organizational culture should encourage a sense of forgiveness and restoration; mployees should not obsess on making the right and perfect decision at the expense of actually implementing a decision and experiencing an error or set back. Strategic leadership creates room for leaders to work to create a culture where mistakes are discussed in a positive way and using the mistakes and failures as a learning opportunity to enable the organization to move forward.
Preedy et al (2004) indicate that cultural change within an organization requires: change in attitude and behavior to start from the top leadership especially with the chief executive officer of he organization; the chief executive officer and top managers to lead by example and seen to be genuine in their endeavors to improve the organization; communicating and listening with respect to others’ views – whoever they are; being open to praise and criticism; encouraging staff to identify difficulties or barriers and suggest solutions.
These clearly exhibit what strategic leadership is about in setting a strategic direction for the organization if the components of strategic planning are done well. A positive culture is developed through team work which is one of the spects emphasized in strategic leadership. Ireland and Hitt (2005) indicate that the strategic leadership theory holds that companies or organizations are reflections of the Chief Executive Officers. Therefore it is sole responsibility of the Chief Executive Officer to spear head strategic leadership in an organization.
This does not mean that he or she is to do it alone but instill it with the members of the organization to yield the desired goals. Ireland and Hitt, further say that in an organizational community, strategic leadership is distributed among diverse individuals who share he responsibility to create a viable future for the organization. Therefore in strategic leadership, there is culture of team work exhibited among the members of the organization.
In case of an existing negative culture within an organization, building a positive culture in that organization is practically a step by step process which can be exhibited by strategic leadership through strategic planning. Jeff (2013) cites Bluestone (2011) indicating that cultural change is evolution, not revolution. This actually depicts the continual and gradual process of building positive culture change in organization. . 5 Environmental scanning Environmental scanning is the first step of strategic planning, a component of strategic leadership.
This enables the organization to assess where it is in relation to the other organizations, and the internal and external factors. This involves collecting and interpreting as much information as possible about the organizations’ external environment as well as its internal reality. Environmental scanning enables the organization to understand the strategic situation of the market forces such as the position itself for competitive advantage in the market.
It reflects critical analysis of the market forces on the environmental situation. Environmental scanning will then enable the development of strategic tools for a competitive advantage of the organization especially now in the areas of e-commerce, information technology, and emerging business technologies as the front-lines of environmental market forces. Preedy et al (2004) indicate a component of strategic planning which plays an important role in scanning the internal and external environment of the organization.
This involves the use of the technique of SWOT analysis which considers Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats which the organization is experiencing at any point. The strengths and weaknesses are used for internal environment scanning while the threats and opportunities are used for external environment scanning. This analysis will involve listing down these attributes and placing a way forward for each of them for the betterment of the organization. . 6 Resource allocation, development and management Resources are very vital in the proper running of the organization. These include human resource, finances, infrastructure, and space among others. In the aspect of trategic planning exhibited in strategic leadership, it involves the proper allocation, use, development and management of these resources through budget allocation strategies to set a clear direction and also achieve organizational goals.
Ireland and Hitt (2005) indicate that strategic leaders view organization members as critical resource on which many core competencies are built and through which competitive advantages are exploited successfully. 2. 7 Yielding profit in a non-profit making organization Citing Taliento and Silverman, Phipps and Burbach (2010) indicate a study made howing the difference between the role of a corporate profit chief executive officer and a nonprofit chief executive officer.
The conclusions they made were based on interviews with cross over leaders who had led both for profit and nonprofit organizations. The study identified five areas in which nonprofit strategic leaders adapt the practices of profit strategic leaders and it also concluded that there was a reason to believe that strategic leaders contribute to nonprofit organizational performance in consistency with the strategic leadership theory.
However there is lso evidence in their study that the exercise of strategic leadership is different in the nonprofit context. 3. 0 Conclusion As I close on the importance of strategic leadership in determining the strategic direction of the organization, Ireland and Hitt (2005) exhibit six components that top leaders in organizations of the 21st century need to practice. These components clearly summarize the importance of strategic leadership in setting strategic direction for the organization.
These include: Determining the firm or organization’s vision; Exploiting and maintaining core competencies which are the resources and apabilities that give a firm a competitive advantage over its rivals; Developing human capital which involves developing knowledge and skills of the organization’s entire work force; sustaining an effective organizational culture which involves maintaining good sets of ideologies, symbols, and core values shared throughout the organization; Emphasizing ethical practices which serve as a moral filter through improve on them; and finally establishing balanced organizational controls which are formal procedures that will be used in the organization to frame, maintain, and alter atterns of organizational activities. In most cases, it will be strategic leadership that will provide a strategic direction for the organization as an alternative option in the expected turbulent conditions of the environment particularly the political and economic factors whose influences to the organization tend to be sudden in most cases. 4. 0 REFERENCES Freedman, M. , Tregoe, B. B. (2003).
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