“The Sterling Silver Cord”
World Class Leadership SkillsThe “Sterling Silver Cord” is the vital connection between the ability to think and operate strategically, and the ability to demonstrate execution at the practical level.
Strategic skills are those which are crucial to formulate policy, establish direction, and determine how resources should be most effectively allocated in order to achieve the larger vision.
It is the strategic thinking skills which are so important when making decisions in the broad context. “Broad” could be in terms of time (5, 10, or even 50 years out); in terms of product (which areas will receive the greatest concentration); in terms of impact (what do we wish to achieve using our time and money), etc. Essentially, strategic skills are crucial in crafting the future.
Tactical skills, on the other hand, are those skills which “put feet to the plan.” The importance of clear vision and thinking cannot be underestimated (the strategic skills), but without good tactical skills the benefits of thinking will never be realized, and will slowly dissipate as so many dreams.
Strong tactical skills allow individuals to understand what the objective is and then to break it down into operational pieces. These can then be planned for, have resources allocated, and have clear steps outlined that need to be taken to achieve specific results. Tactical skills look at the immediate details as well as the additional details “around the corner” and “on the horizon”. With good tactical skills an individual is able to realize what can and can’t be done within a given context, and so utilizes the available talent in the resource pool for the maximum effectiveness.
Clearly if an individual is strong in both areas, then there is a huge benefit: the strategic thinking takes into consideration the tactical realities; and the tactical realities are driven by the importance of the strategic plan. This person is able to make decisions along the executional path without endangering the attainment of the final objective. Great leaders who have mastered both these areas of skill can be said to be of sterling quality, with the sterling silver cord joining the strategic and tactical skills consistently strong along its entire length.
Their leadership at any point along that cord is maximally effective. Typically individuals tend to have strength either on the strategic end (knowing what to do) or on the tactical end (knowing how to do it). As we move towards becoming world-class leaders – of sterling quality – our skills need to be developed so that they are equally strong in both areas, and everywhere in between.
In a maximally effective organization, individuals are correctly positioned along the sterling silver cord so that their relative strengths in strategy or tactics are most effectively used on a day-to-day basis.
More Business articles from Business 2 Community: