Why a lack of strategic perspective is a fatal flaw even when your job doesn’t require it

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In the first post in our series on the middle management career dilemma, Tony Megally highlighted the importance of demonstrating a broad commercial mindset and an understanding of where your function fits within the organisational strategy to be considered for more senior leadership roles.

A recent study by Harvard University canvassing the opinions of more than 300,000 professionals found ‘displaying a strategic perspective’ is considered among the top five most important skills for executives, yet falls to 9th in importance when ranked by all managers. The researchers point out why this is a concern: ‘If you wait until you’re a top manager to develop a strategic perspective it will be too late’ as ‘a lack of strategic perspective is considered a fatal flaw even when your current job doesn’t require it.’ Why? Because ‘managers want to see you demonstrate that skill before they promote you.’ Which is what Tony pointed out in his thoughts about the corporate finance market. 

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Marshall McAdam Director, Paul Rowley, believes the leadership challenge in the technology sector is another example of an industry where a lack of early strategic perspective has been detrimental to the professional development of its workforce. “The role of technology in business has significantly shifted over recent years due to the expectation that it is an enabler for competitive advantage, operational simplification and efficiency. These opportunities are now presented through technologies across mobility, cloud, Business Intelligence and Big Data. This environment demands leaders who are strong communicators, people who can build relationships with both customers and suppliers, motivate teams and influence business results. This profound change in the technology leadership skillset risks leaving a whole generation of technical managers - who were never encouraged to develop those skills - out in the cold.” 

The reality is leadership is changing in every industry and any middle manager aiming for a senior role must put strategic thinking at the top of their professional development wish-list. 

 

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