The true worth of a captain becomes apparent when the seas are rough, and the ship meets adversity. That sounds like a pretty accurate description of today’s business environment – constant change, numerous competitor challenges, and rapid transformations in the crews’ componence and way of rowing.
From Artificial Intelligence to shifting algorithms, technology has irrevocably altered the foundations of the workplace. And Millennial employees are different and demanding. Furthermore, the leadership gap seems to be widening and there is the constant threat of being left without proper guidance in times of turmoil.
In order to navigate such circumstances, senior executives are embracing agile management styles and rethinking the way their organizations do business.
Read more: 3 Crucial steps in ensuring business agility
4 Tips for adjusting your L&D program to prepare C-suite executives for strategic moves
HR and L&D specialists in charge of Talent Development have to find the right ways to assist and guide C-suite executives steer things in the right direction.
Here are some strategies for that.
Search for talent outside the organization
While growing ‘in house’ talent works wonderfully for most situations, when it comes to organizations being at crossroads or in a difficult predicament, a fresh perspective can be just the right answer.
An outsider comes into an organization with the impartial insights needed for breakthrough moves. Coming from outside the business, they aren’t biased by years of dealing with internal company politics. When an external leader is brought in, they are more likely to see the need for important strategic moves such as full organizational restructuring.
Inertia is the enemy in situations that call for action. Having safe, already tried responses when visionary leadership is needed can prove a sure way to sink the fleet instead of moving it forward.
Outsiders’ inner agility allows them to embrace the unconventional even when it may not be the comfortable solution. However, all C-suite executives need to develop great flexibility and even try to cultivate an outsider mindset.
Have regular strategic reviews
You might think that in times of turmoil there is only place for acting, not talking about how to act. But it’s better to have everyone on board know where you are going and why. Conducting strategic reviews is an essential factor in formulating all the initiatives in order to steer the organization in a new direction.
The key to a good strategic meeting is to plan it well and execute it even better. This means that all factors have to be evaluated – from the current state of things to various inputs on how they can be moved forward.
A thorough strategic review will, at the end of it, have comprehensive answers to the following questions:
- Where is the business at now?
- Where can the business arrive?
- Where should the business aim?
- How can the business get there?
Each of the answers builds on the previous one. The first step is to establish a starting point by describing the existing situation. The second shows what needs to be done and what the reasons for the need are. In the third step, some action options must be taken into consideration while finally a working plan to initiate them gets drafted.
Relying on the outcomes of such strategic meeting targets can be set, and the metrics to quantify them can be defined.
Build strategic momentum
Building and maintaining constant strategic momentum is a lot harder than it seems since people naturally like to do things in the same way once a certain modus operandi has proved effective.
Strategic momentum asks them to commit to constant and effectual change.
The ability to do so is often associated with high-performance executives in their first few years on the job. Older C-suite executives tend to become more cautious and not inclined to take radical action. Even frequent solutions in times of crisis, such as initiating a cost-optimization program are more likely to be supported by the newer members of leading staff.
So, in order to make sure all decision-makers will act in the best interest of the organization even when their choices may not be comfortable, the strategic momentum has to be sustained by methodical and constant support. The strategic reviews can also act as occasions for maintaining and strengthening the momentum.
Make the vision visible throughout the organization
It’s clear that any lasting business performance is driven by a focus on leadership strategy. With the climate of disruption ever-present in all aspects of corporate culture, top to bottom communication (as well as the tone and transparency of it) has become a very important factor in activating and driving any much-needed change.
The key is for senior leaders to successfully communicate their vision of the company’s objectives and the best path to reach them. If done properly, it is immediately translated into action.
Everyone needs a clear purpose and a moving vision – inspired employees are motivated employees. They’re no longer just doing their job to get paid; they’re working together towards a shared goal.
As far as leadership strategy goes, being able to follow a clear vision ensures all the people in the organization can see a bright future on quiet waters and feel engaged in reaching them.
Just as sea captains become great with experience, C-suite CEOs are not born exceptional leaders. It takes time, sometimes a process of trial and error and every so often going by gut feeling. Gearing your organization’s L&D program to groom its beneficiaries for any impeding strategic change of course is a must and the four tips above are a good start.
Raluca Cristescu is a Faculty of Letters graduate with over ten years of experience in corporate training, focused mainly on soft skills for customer service and direct sales.