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Moving from a Tactical to Strategic Mindset

This is another excerpt from an interview from “Trust-Fueled Growth & Delegation: Unlocking Your Business Potential” when Steve Fisher was a podcast guest on Mike O’Neill. Mike and Steve discussed various topics, but most of them focused on how business owners and C-suite executives get “unstuck” with strategic thinking, a written structured growth plan and accountability.

Mike O’Neill: You shared a few minutes ago that you have a knack. You leverage your natural engineering inclinations of innovative problem-solving to cut through the noise and resolve clients’ root issues.

How have you found this knack helps you cut through the nose noise for your clients?

Steve Fisher: I commonly get to the root issue to help clients overcome challenges by moving from a tactical problem-solving mindset to a strategic planning mindset.

And, as the title of your podcast is Getting Unstuck, one big way businesses get stuck is they can’t transition from tactical problem solving and thinking to, as it’s frequently referred to, “firefighting.” Longer-term strategic thinking is what I help clients achieve as a corporate strategist. I help business leaders shift from one way of thinking to another to achieve more.

Here’s how. Once we analyze and agree with the client about the long-term strategic goals, we will take steps to achieve the desired outcomes. And that is all part of a structured growth plan. We can always discuss the differences between a structured growth plan and a general business plan.

In every conversation with a client and the various levels of their management team, I actively listen to them discuss things back and forth to figure out how we are going to move toward the goals to be set at a strategic level.

And if we are not moving to a strategic frame of mind, it is just noise.

 It doesn’t mean what’s being said is not important. It does not mean it does not need to be taken care of. It often does, but it is important that I highlight to them what tactical thinking and a tactical problem are versus what strategic thinking and a strategic problem are.

Just by highlighting the difference, business owners will often pause.

And I can just see the lightbulb go off.

It’s great when a business owner or CEO is listening to another executive or middle manager about a tactical problem, and they’ll say something like, “That’s important, but let’s focus back on what strategy we’re talking about.”

So when we talk about getting unstuck, I would say that this is a great example of how senior leadership can get unstuck by making that move from a tactical to strategic mindset.

Additional thoughts…

One related concept not expressed here is that as you move up the organizational chart into the C-Suite and Ownership, it becomes more important for senior leadership to have a strategic mindset. Middle management and front-line teams should know and understand the strategic goals. However, their focus should be on the tactical issues according to a structured growth plan. This frees senior management up for strategic planning, which drives organizational growth, expansion, value, and profitability.  And, of course, leads to a whole other discussion regarding delegation and accountability.

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