Leadership Matters: Orienting mid-level leaders to strategy

What would happen if they knew how to connect every project to the organization’s overall purpose?

Being promoted is often thought of as an opportunity to work exclusively from the proverbial 30,000-foot view. Yet, as many executives know, a new title doesn’t make you a strategist. It takes time, experience and, most importantly, a particular mindset to be able to transform a tactic into a strategic play. What if a credit union can’t wait for all its mid-level leaders to put in their time and gain that experience? What would be possible if your mid-level leaders could apply a strategic orientation to their tactical initiatives and projects today?

Understanding the distinction between strategy and tactics is an important step. Mid-level leaders constantly work on and are assigned projects. It’s not easy to understand that projects are a derivative of tactical initiatives, which are a derivative of specific strategies, which are the facilitators of the credit union’s organizing principle, a thoroughly vetted statement endorsed by the board, management and leadership teams on the long-term impact they want to have in the market.

However, when your mid-level talent truly understands the organization’s overarching strategies, they can then apply a strategic orientation to their departments’ strategies as well as each project, directly connecting their groups’ objectives to the organization’s overall purpose. As every credit union executive team has said, “We need to challenge the status quo.” But credit unions cannot achieve this aim without making the development of mid-level talent a strategic priority.


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