Jul 2, 2021
This week, Dan Neumann is joined by return guest, and Senior Consultant in AgileThought’s Innovate line of service, Adam Ulery! Adam is a perpetually curious, continuous learner who is always willing to encourage others to try new things (as he very often does himself). He is very focused on helping organizations clarify and meet their business outcomes, and he loves to help companies become resilient and rediscover their curiosity.
In this episode, they are exploring the topic of strategic vs. tactical decisions and actions in agility. Adam explains why it is important to make this distinction; why, as leaders, we need to be focused on strategy more than tactics; the key differences between a strategic and tactical perspective; and tips, techniques, and advice for navigating strategy vs. tactics.
Why is it important to distinguish between strategic vs. tactical decisions and actions?
With the distinction, leaders will often focus too much on the tactics and not enough on the strategy or strategic duties
Organizations are often focused on the tactical details of what’s happening in their business and less on the strategy — distinguishing between the two allow for a more healthy/appropriate balance
Why is focusing more on tactics rather than strategy bad? What are common anti-patterns?
As a leader, you shouldn’t be too involved in the micro-details of what to do to fix an issue (instead, let the people closest to the work do the work)
As a leader, you should be focusing on the higher-level leadership activities rather than getting granular on what the experts should be doing on a micro-level
If you’re too focused on the details of what your team is doing, you’re slowing down the decision-making
Employees that are being watched/queried by a higher-level leader are going to end up slowing down and deferring to them to make decisions where they don’t need to (which eventually leads to demotivation down the line)
If the leader continues to operate in this way (of micro-managing) the employees don’t have the time to cultivate and nurture the competencies and higher skills needed to be self-sufficient
Focusing on tactics more takes eyes off of meeting the strategic outcomes that are desired
Instead of focusing on: “Does the team have the right priorities?” focus on: “Is what we’re putting out to market this month aligned with our organizational goals?”
Leaders should be focusing on higher-level things (i.e. business outcomes and ensuring they are aligned to the organization’s strategy)
Focusing on tactics as a leader also takes eyes off of improving the system in which people are working (for example: building customer loyalty by delivering what they need quickly and reliably)
If leaders are focusing on embracing technical excellence and the small details of how to actually get those activities coordinated and executed on, then they’re not focusing on the higher-level strategy of building customer loyalty or the long-term view
If leaders are getting in the trenches and focusing on low-level things, it distracts them from being able to think about long-range goals
The differences between a strategic and tactical perspective:
A tactical perspective is shorter-range and a strategic perspective is longer-range
If you’re a leader, you add value by executing on the strategy, creating vision, and growing your people
On the operational level, you add value by “doing the thing”/executing on deliverables
Neither is better than the other; it’s just about how you want to add value, where you’re focusing, and where you want to spend your time
Tips for how to navigate strategy vs. tactics:
Leaders need to work on their fears associated with letting go of control and do what they need to do in order to let others take control and be self-sufficient
Leaders need to enable and equip their people by making sure that they are competent and skilled before they take control (if you give control at the wrong point, you risk massive downsides)
As a leader, allow your people to be accountable (and teach them how to be accountable); and as they build their skills, competencies, and they’re able to take over; let them be accountable
As a leader, it is your duty to make sure that everyone knows what the strategy is and that they understand it (because it is hard to align to a strategy if you don’t know what it is)
Do introspection, self-study, look in and analyze your own behavior and actions as a leader — are you too “in the weeds” with tactics?
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