In previous posts, I illustrated the difference between change management and leading change using the Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM) definition for Leading Change. Following OPM’s framework, I introduced strategies to educate, coach and provide career experiences around leading change through creativity and innovation. I explored strategies to demonstrate external awareness, and I described opportunities to learn and demonstrate flexibility. Most recently, I also shared opportunities to practice resilience.
Strategic Thinking as a Leading Change Competency
The fifth executive competency in leading change is strategic thinking. As defined by OPM, this executive competency “formulates objectives and priorities, and implements plans consistent with the long-term interests of the organization in a global environment.” It also “capitalizes on opportunities and manages risks.”
Strategic thinking is probably one of the first leading change competencies that clearly requires the previous four competencies for successful use. Creativity, innovation, external awareness, flexibility and resilience are needed to identify opportunities and create and implement plans in these ways:
- Creativity and innovation help formulate objectives and priorities.
- External awareness ensures consistency with the global environment.
- Flexibility assists with then implementation of plans with long-term interests, and
- Resilience is built by managing risks.
Strategic thinking gives you the foresight and ability to capitalize on opportunities to facilitate change using a systematic process. Developing strategic thinking involves using a variety of disciplines in a logical approach to plan for success. When preparing government to lead change, map ways to develop strategic thinking to learning and career experiences.
Lead Change by Learning About Strategic Thinking
The best way to develop strategic thinking is to take a course on Strategic Planning for Executives from the Federal Executive Institute (FEI). Learn about strategic thinking by reading “Strategic Thinking: A Step-by-Step Approach to Strategy” by Simon Wootton. Another great read is “Learning to Think Strategically” by Julia Sloan. The Strategic Thinking Institute also has a great number of resources on strategic thinking.
Lead Change with Strategic Thinking Coaching and Mentoring
Explore strategic thinking through coaching, mentoring and shadowing. A great way to get exposure is to shadow senior officials in a strategic planning exercise. Another great way is to assist risk management experts in creating risk management metrics or a risk management program in an organization.
Lead Change with Strategic Thinking Experiences
The best way to lead change is to engage in a career experience that involves strategic planning. Create a recurring program to highlight individual employees and map their work to the organization’s mission on an intranet page. Another direct way is to lead a Lean Six Sigma session for a new organizational service process. You can also establish a new organization office or team based on data.
All this can be used to develop strategic thinking to prepare government for leading change. But one of the best ways to start is to use strategic thinking every day. Learn four simple steps to change your mindset to think differently and do differently on a daily basis.
Adelle J. Dantzler, M.S. Ed., has advanced from a GS-3 student worker to a GS-15 Human Resources Specialist in the federal government. She has used her master’s experience in instructional design to create innovative, customized virtual and instructor-led courses and curriculums at the high potential, team leader, GS-15, and senior executive levels at four federal agencies. As a Federal Job Search Trainer/Career Coach, she has successfully coached hundreds on the job search and facilitated career management, leadership and team-building with her certifications as a MBTI® & FIRO-B® Practitioner, Crucial Conversations and InsideOut Coaching Presenter, and EQ-i2.0 and CCL 360 coach.