Strategists are individuals or groups who are primarily involved in the formulation, implementation and evaluation of strategy. A strategist is like a root of an organization. In order to overcome the deadly traps in any organization a strategist must first think outside of the “box” and they must focus on both “forest and the trees.” They must need to concentrate on three aspects of human intelligence like Intellectual Intelligence (IQ), Emotional Intelligence (EQ), and Spiritual Intelligence (SQ).
The mind of strategist must try to decide when to do strategy and when not to do strategy, clear target markets, competitive advantage, 80/20 focus and alignment. They need to do research, analyse the given situation with the available information’s and comes out with the best solutions. The heart of strategist must have the concepts, rules, power and politics play an important role in the development of any strategy. The end result of a strategy (the strategic plan) determines what is, and what is not important to the company’s future, who will get scarce resources such as budgets, and skills, who will be gain and who will lose power. The soul of strategist must have ingredients to inspiration include energy, creativity, action or doing, wisdom, purpose, fun, awareness of the mystery, caring, motivating the people, stimulating the new innovative ideas.
There are various kinds of strategists like managers, board of directors, chief executive officers, entrepreneurs, senior management, SBU-level executives, corporate planning staff, consultants, middle level managers, executive assistants.
- Board of directors are the owners of an organization such as shareholders, controlling agencies, government, financial institutions, etc. They are responsible for governance of an organization, technology collaboration, new product development and senior management appointments. They guide the senior management in setting and accomplishing objectives, review and evaluate organization performance.
- The chief executive officer is answerable for all aspects of strategic management from the formulation to the evaluation of strategy. They play a major role in strategic decision making and provide the direction for the organization so that it can achieve its purpose. They assist in setting the mission of the organization. They are responsible for deciding the objectives, formulating and implementing the strategy.
- Entrepreneurs are strategist who starts a new business, initiator, searches for change, respond to it and exploits its as an opportunity. By their nature, entrepreneurs play a proactive role. They are implementers and evaluators of strategies.
- Senior management or top management consists of managers at highest level managerial hierarchy. They look after renovation, technology up progression, diversification and expansion and also focus on new product development. They assist the board and chief executives in formulating, implementing and evaluating the strategy.
- SBU level executives are profit center heads or divisional heads. They manage a diversified company as a portfolio of businesses, each business having a clearly defined product-market segment and an unique strategy. SBU executives maintain harmonization with other SBUs in the organizing, formulating and implementing the SBU level strategy.
- Corporate planning staff plays a supporting role. They put in order and communicate the strategic plans. They make available administrative support and fulfill the function of assisting the introduction, working and maintenance of strategic management system.
- Consultants may be individuals, academicians or consultancy companies who are specialized in strategic management activities. They will advise and assist managers to improve the performance and effectiveness of an organization. They provide services of corporate strategy and planning.
- Middle level managers look after operational matters, so they rarely play an active role in strategic management. They are the implementers of decision taken by top level and followers of policy guidelines. They contribute to generation of ideas and in development of strategic alternative. They also help in setting objectives at departmental level.
- An executive assistant will assist the chief executive in the performance of his duties in various ways. They assist the chief executive in data collection, analysis and in suggesting alternatives. Coordinating activities with internal staff and outsiders and acting as a filter for information are also performed by the executive assistant.
The Role of Strategist in Organizations
A powerful strategist plays the major important roles like sooth sayer, sculptor, politician, guru and jail buster.
- A strategist must be a soothsayer or seer who helps his team to imagine the future world within which they will be competing. They begin by reading the palm of the organisation and also identify its competencies and unique strengths. They then use the crystal ball of scenarios, and imaginative thinking to help the team to visualize the future within which the business will operate.
- A strategist should also be a sculptor like an artist ‘who carves a form’ out of raw materials. The sculptor strategist creates a unique role or purpose for the organisation. They predict the reason why the organisation will be successful within the soothsayer’s imagined future. The sculptor begins by defining the organisation’s future target markets. They then provide the future shape of the organisation by defining why its future customers will choose to support it, rather than any future imagined competitor. So the strategist changes systems, structures, rewards, alliances, products and services to ensure that everything supports the organisational purpose.
- A politician is someone who is ‘skilled in the art of maneuvering and manipulation.’ The politician strategist knows the power players in the organisation. They know what drives each leader and they also know who is motivated by what external and internal factors.
- A guru is ‘a person who gives personal spiritual guidance to his disciples.’ The strategist guru, shows how each individual employee in the company, can contribute to the greater, noble goal. They help individual employees to discover their inimitable personal purpose. Then they show them how to channel their energy and talent towards living their purpose, whilst acting in ways that support the company’s goal.
- A strategist must also plays a role of jail buster, while at work, many employees find that their talents, passions, creativity, imagination, and energy are locked behind bars of the company culture. Timid managers who want to ‘be in control’, and ‘avoid making mistakes’, often hide the keys to creativity, energy, passion, self-assurance, and innovation. The jail buster strategist shows employees how to break out from their prison of tediousness and fear without alerting their fearful managers. They provide the key to unlocking their talents, creativity, and energy.