This week we’ve been looking at the difference in thinking between urgent and strategic leaders. Each respond to a different set of criteria by running a mental algorithm to produce options when confronted with issues.
While urgent leaders prioritize urgency, symptoms, and history, strategic leaders focus on importance, problems, incremental action, and people.
When two leaders are confronted with an urgent issue, an urgent leader reacts by looking to alleviate the symptom by drawing on past experience. In contrast, the strategic leader first looks underneath the symptom to diagnose the problem. They then determine if the problem itself is critical to the organization’s health and purpose. They quickly identify key stakeholders and consider how different options will impact those people.
This doesn’t mean that urgent leaders are incapable of thinking strategically, it just means that they default to an urgent response. So, how do we move from an urgent algorithm to a strategic one?
The first requirement is to be intentional by acting instead of reacting. Consistently asking yourself some questions at the outset and at the conclusion of an event will help you shift your default thinking.
When first confronted with a situation:
When deciding on a course of action:
In the coming weeks, we’ll look at more specific strategies and tools for identifying problems and developing solutions. In the meantime, asking these questions will help reprogram your algorithm.
It is a crazy time and if you can only take one thing away from this discussion it should be to always stop and ask, “what’s the problem?” This one change will make a huge difference.
Do good and stay well,