Are You a Strategic or Tactical Manager?

From the Desk of Dave Tomko, owner – The Growth Coach of West Michigan

I am on a crusade to re-educate and re-focus senior business managers to lead more and manage less. I have found that this shift in attitude leads to a much more fulfilling and enjoyable career. It will also eventually make you indispensable to the company and lead you to greater financial freedom. In short, I want all HR managers to think and act strategically and effectively. 

Too many managers are gifted technicians with a strong command of their specific business discipline, but not very effective as strategic leaders. That’s not your fault, rather you’ve probably never been expected to be more than a subject matter expert.

I think you should approach your work differently. If you are not leading in your business, who is? If you are not being strategic, who is? If you are not proactive, who is? Most importantly, wouldn’t you be more valuable to everyone if you were doing those things?

Consider the following questions as they apply to your current experience:

  • Do I see the big picture and have a long-term view? 
  • Do I think more like a CEO than an employee?
  • Do I create a yearly business plan? 
  • Is my leadership purposeful, proactive, and planning-based?
  • Do I constantly think about the direction and objectives of the business?
  • Do I focus on the entire business and not just the technical work of my position?
  • Have I created plans, procedures and policies to help operate my company? 
  • Have I developed and documented all our key business processes? 
  • Do I avoid getting buried in the day-to-day details and headaches of the business? 
  • Have I shaped my position more by design than by default?

If you answered “no” to most of these questions, you are operating as a tactical, reactive business manager. You could benefit greatly from becoming a strategic business manager (SBM). In short, a strategic business manager gets the highest and best return possible for her time, money and effort. She focuses on working smarter, not harder.  

Want to get started with making a change? Look at the list above and re-order the items for your personal situation. Put the easiest changes to make, or actions to implement, at the top of the list and place the harder things to change at the bottom of the list. Then give yourself 30 days to work on each aspect. As you gain momentum and success on the top half of the list the bottom half will no longer seem so difficult.     

One final tip: Keeping yourself accountable makes change “stick” so partner with someone else you trust in another company. Explain the shift in perspective you want to make and have them force you to report in each month as to your progress.