Leveling Up Your Leadership, Part 1: Strategy.

Leveling up your leadership starts when you set your strategy and stop working in your business and start working on it.

By Jenny DuFresne

What does it mean to level up your leadership? It means a lot of things, but not the least of which is moving from working in your business to working on your business. In this three-part series, I’m going to help you think about some crucial things you need to do to build an amazing company or organization. At my business growth training firm, Leaders Transform, my goal is to help leaders really understand what happens when they are growing their companies and give them the tools they need to succeed. In this space, I want to talk about three levers all leaders need to up-level their leadership: strategy, accountability, and clarity. Today, we’ll focus on strategy

First, take a step back and recognize where you are on your leadership journey. There are real specific things that happen in the transition from being an entrepreneur to being the CEO. Even though you may call yourself the CEO in your entrepreneurial phase, when you start to make this transition to grow your business, that’s when you need to start shifting more into being the guide and focus more on delegating (along with a whole bunch of other things). When you’re a CEO, you have to shift from being the doer all the time to leading and delegating.

After all, when we’re always busy doing something, working in our businesses, we often don’t have the time to think about where we’re trying to go and how we’re going to get there. So, strategy is a really important part of the process of up-leveling your leadership because it takes you out of that space of having been the doer. And maybe you’ve had to write all the proposals and respond to all the RFPs in your company that have come through. But now you need to start to think strategically. What opportunities do we want to go after? How do we want to execute on these opportunities?

The strategy component of leveling up your leadership is really thinking about three things. What are the goals in your organization? What are the priorities? And how do you resource them? 

Those priorities may have to do with finding great people. They may have to do with expanding your market share. Whatever it is, you want to think about the goals and then identify the priorities for those goals. The last part is resourcing. And this is a place that sometimes we don’t spend enough time thinking about. We might do a great job of thinking about the goals, and we may even do a fabulous job of thinking about priorities. But sometimes we forget to think about what it takes to make it all happen by getting and allocating the resources to do the job.

When you put all this together, that’s the strategy, because you’re really thinking about how do the people in your organization make decisions and how do they allocate resources? What kind of resources do they put towards accomplishing the key objectives or accomplishing those goals relative to what is decided?

When you think about your leadership, you need to identify your goals there. Not just your two-month or 90-day goals, but your big picture. Once you identify those really big picture goals, boil them down to priorities. What are the things that are really going to move your company forward or move your team forward? And then what resources do you need to accomplish those goals? Resources are everything from people, to facilities, to money.  

Strategy is really, really important. It’s when you shift from the grind of building your company or the grind of trying to get projects out the door to really taking a step back and thinking very broadly about what your goals are and how you can execute on them. 

Strategy is just one of three pillars you need to up-level your leadership. You also need accountability and clarity. Next time, I’ll talk about accountability. 

Jenny DuFresne is the chief executive officer of Leaders Transform, a business growth training firm that has served over 3,500 leaders and teams across the U.S. and internationally. Learn more at LeadersTransform.com.

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