One of the most perennial chicken and egg questions is – what comes first, leadership or strategy? Let us consider a scenario – a company has a team of the best strategists in the business. They prepare an unbeatable strategy for launching a new product and taking the world by storm. But when it comes time to execute, they are all frozen in their tracks. The strategy bombs.
Why did this happen? Ideally, the product should have done really well with the right strategy backing the product launch. The fact is that even the best strategy is useless when there is no one who can take the initiative of effectively and efficiently implementing it. In other words, if there is no leader, the strategy is just a bunch of abstract words.
On the other hand, a company who has little by way of strategy does really well in the market because the leader at the helm is dynamic and efficient. This goes on to prove how important it is to have a good leader leading your strategic initiatives. An organization is made of people and people have a human side to them. Only an effective leader can connect to this human side of the employees – their emotions and needs.
A leader is like a driver for the organization, he/she drives all the employees. The greater the connection that a leader can establish with their team, the more effective and productive is the team’s performance. A great leader doesn’t simply elicit the required effort from the employees but is able to make them want to put in that effort. This ability has the power to turn around organizations even without a strategy.
Hence, if such a leader is at the starting point of strategy then one can be sure that the strategy would be executed to perfection. Most strategies require strong decision-making abilities and only a leader with such capabilities can take the strategy through the execution phase successfully.
One important fact is that no single leader can take an entire project through unless he/she has people with leadership abilities at different levels to take charge of different aspects of a project. The leadership and strategic management teams at organizations must, therefore, focus on developing leaders at these different levels by identifying people with leadership abilities and giving them independent responsibilities for different tasks within the larger vision of the key leader. A strategy will come to beautiful fruition when it is well lead and hence, good leadership must always be the starting point of strategy.