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The Art of Strategic Leadership by Stephanie S. Mead, Steven J. Stowell

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Chapter 1Introduction

You can't have strategy without leadership. They are inseparable. Sure, you can create a sound strategic plan, but to do something meaningful with it requires bold leadership. Having a great vision and setting a clear direction for the team lies at the very heart of leadership, and organizations that are filled with leaders who think and act strategically will be more successful than businesses with precious few leaders of this type—there's just no question about it.

So much value is lost for customers, owners, and employees when leaders fail to prepare for the future and take a role in actively shaping it. In our training, coaching, and consulting practice, we see a lot of leaders who are pretty good. But many of these leaders are so consumed by meeting the day-to-day demands of their businesses that they miss opportunities and overlook threats that are on the horizon. When we work inside organizations and coach leaders to become more proactive, we often run into managers who have good intentions but are consistently pulled back into a reactionary, problem-solving mode. No matter what they do, they can't seem to escape this vicious cycle and get ahead of the curve. We like how Warren Bennis describes it in Why Leaders Can't Lead: “Routine work drives out non-routine work and smothers to death all creative planning” (1989, p. 15). In The Leadership Challenge, Kouzes and Posner build on this idea by saying that the critical issue for leaders isn't whether ...

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