strategic leadership

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It is ambiguous where strategic leadership ends and strategic management begins. There is significant overlap between the two. But in the spirit that ""Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things"" and management as ""controlling"" and leadership as ""inspiring"" - strategic leadership addresses the higher purpose of the business organization and inspires the organization to align to this purpose, guiding the organization to enduring success.

Strategic leadership -- (Burgelman, 2007) --
Strategic leadership is top management's call to design the strategy-making process -- it is the means with which leadership style exerts its influence on corporate longevity.

Strategic leadership challenge --

  • Explore and exploit -- Determine the balance of exploitation and exploration that will maximize a company's survival chances in the face of non-linear dynamic situations.
  • Fitness and evolvability -- The strategy-making process maintains the balance to maximize two paradoxical attributes of fitness, adaptation to the current environment, and evolvability, the ability to adapt to a changing environment and/or seek out new viable environments.
  • Take risks -- In regard to exploration, the upside of correct decisions is very high while the downside of wrong ones can lead to major disasters.
  • Avoid the strategic inertia trap -- Even in a dynamic world, the rules of the game for any given enterprise can remain relatively consistent for extended periods of time. This produces a strategic inertia which is hard to break out of with the appearance of nonlinearities, while increasing the risk of transformation that is unpracticed.

Relationship between leadership and strategy-making process --
What sets leaders apart, those who achieve long-term great performance, thus survival of their enterprise, is the ability to design a strategy making process that is capable of effectively balancing induced and autonomous strategy processes to meet various strategic dynamic situations that their companies inevitably face as they evolve. See strategic dynamics for strategic leadership guidelines for contextual application of autonomous and induced strategy making processes.

Strategic leadership and mission and imperatives (Burgelman, 2002, 22-23) --
The mission of strategic leadership is to put in place a strategy-making process that is commensurate with the dynamics of the environment.

Strategic leadership imperatives --

  • Leaders who want to maintain control of their company's destiny must embrace strategy and learn to think strategically while in action...
  • Capitalize on strategic dissonance created by the divergence of forces that drives a company's evolution.
  • Maintain effectiveness of both induced (roughly deliberate, exploitive, incremental) and autonomous (roughly emergent, explorative, revolutionary) strategy process as essential for organization evolution.
  • Manage the cycle time of strategic change in line with the environmental change.

Strategic leadership characteristics --

  • cognizant of he important role of both induced and autonomous processes in strategy-making
  • tolerates a sufficient level of uncommitted resources and looseness in control to continue to maintain a portfolio of autonomous initiatives
  • is able to select at the right time those initiatives that need to be converted to the discipline of the induced process in order to cope with nonlinear strategic dynamics

Analogy of phenotype and genotype --
In a biological analogy, strategic leadership produces the phentotype (the appearance of an organism resulting from the interaction of the genotype and the environment), the expression of Collins' level 5 leadership style in organizations, while the organization itself is the genotype (the genetic makeup of an organism, as distinguished form the physical appearance of an organism).