Be More Strategic!

“How can I be more strategic?” This is a commonly asked question, but what does it really mean?

During a panel session at Grace Hopper Celebration, Karen Catlin (Femgineer), Ann Mei Chang (US Department of State), Christine Rimer (Intuit), Mary Fernandez (MentorNet), and Meenakshi Kaul-Basu (Oracle) shared with everyone that:

Being strategic means

  1. Defining Vision
    • Being audacious
    • Taking risks
  2. Creating Strategy
    • Aligning objectives
    • Disruption competition
  3. Ensuring Success
    • Avoiding crises
    • Using metrics effectively
  4. Communicating, over and over again
    • Conveying objectives
    • Expecting change

Being strategic needs mission, leadership, and strategy. Strategy is set down by the leadership and good strategies have these three characteristics:

  1. focused on the long-term and forward-looking
  2. aspirational, while recognizing constraints
  3. grounded in facts

Being strategic also needs to collaborate and to communicate over and over again. 95% of time people are not advocating is not because they are against you, it’s because they don’t know your goal.

Great fortunes are made when cannonballs fall in the harbor, not when violins play in the ballroom. After a series of success in her earlier career at Apple, Ann Mei was “up the creek”, she “lost her job” as a technical manager. She boldly took on a job in HR department regardless her strong technical background. There she gained governance and leadership skills which helped her to gain greater success later. She encouraged everyone not to be afraid of failures as her biggest success came out of her biggest failure.

Come up with a plan, and think ahead in a way that is proactive. Being strategic is about having a long-term plan, and putting it into action.

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