What Kind Of Change Maker Are You? The Strategist

Feb 24, 2022

Welcome back for the third in a series of blogs answering the important question; “What kind of change maker are you?” Previously, we talked about the Play Maker and the Implementer. This time we're looking at the Strategist.

The Strategist

The strategist is one of those people that can just see the patterns all around them. They see the patterns in data, the patterns in behaviour, they see the patterns in history and try to understand that and unravel it so that they can predict the future. They seem to have a perspective on the future that is often crystal clear and they're very good people to tune into what's likely to happen next. All of this means they're very good at planning because they can take that information (those patterns) and start to plan what needs to happen next in a pragmatic way.

Value to Others

The first thing people notice about their Strategist colleagues is they create an incredible amount of clarity. Because they can see the patterns, they understand how things are coming together and how things are likely to emerge. They're able to communicate that to others and people get a good sense of what's possible and what isn't possible.
Secondly, whilst the Strategists like the big picture, they're incredibly good at getting into the detail when it's about communicating what needs to be done. As you can imagine, that's really helpful in a team environment where there's lots to do but we need to understand what's the best way of going about it.
The next big contribution they make is providing alignment. So if you approach the Strategist with an idea, what they're thinking is, this may be good but is this going to fit with everything that we're doing right now? If it does fit, they'll happily make a quick decision.
The final thing I've noticed about the Strategists around me, because they have a really clear view of where the discussion should go and what sort of outputs they want from it, they're incredibly good at moving conversations forward with great questions: "Why are we doing this?" "What's the purpose of this meeting?" These incisive questions stimulate good thinking and help others to draw the same conclusions that have already been reached by thew Strategist.

The Strategist Skillset 

So, what are the skills of the Strategist?  

With the clarity creation and alignment comes an ability to prioritize.
Strategists can see where things fit and what the likely sequence is going to be in terms of their implementation. They're able to say; "This is a lower priority right now, let's save that activity for a couple of weeks." Equally, if an idea has flown in from nowhere and it fits, and it's gonna make a whole load of things work ten times better, they can equally make that decision that say; "Let's do this first!"
To the Strategist, prioritization is almost effortless for a strategist.

The Values of a Strategist

One thing a Strategist is always keen to do, is to cover all the angles. They'll very happily sit and listen to another argument and will try hard to understand why somebody is presenting a certain view. In their minds, the more information they can gather, the better the decisions will be and the more aligned everything will be.
The other key value of a Strategist is to avoid waste. One of the reasons Strategists seek to align activity and prioritise effort is to ensure nothing is duplicated and focus is on the activities which will make the most difference now!

Can you go any quicker?

  One issue which arises consistently amongst my Strategist clients is the perception they create of being either indecisive or slow to action. A drawback of wishing to cover all the angles, listen to all the various arguments to ensure nothing is missed, is that it takes time. More action-focused colleagues (such as Implementers and Polishers) may see this as wasting time, prevaricating, stalling and avoidance.

Of course, this is not the intent of the Strategist. So, if this is you, just be aware and maybe make some time ahead of your interactions with others to do some of that quality thinking.

In essence, it's about managing expectations. If you can be seen to make decisions quicker, you will banish all perceptions of being an energy sapper in meetings!

What's the Strategist's Intention?  

In simple terms, the Strategist is seeking to be effective. They want to be working on the right things, at the right time, with the right people and the right resources to deliver the right results.

If that means spending valuable time doing sufficient research and reviewing appropriate paperwork, so be it. Rather this than embarking on the wrong plan and wasting time and money!


Is This You?

Is that you? Are you that Strategist or do you have a Strategist in your team?
Whichever way round it is, you now know the vital contribution that a Strategist makes to your team. Here's this week's video if you want to listen to the key messages again.
Next up in this series will be the Game Changer. If you'd like to know when that appears, be sure to Subscribe to my weekly newsletter.
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