In today’s world of AI and fast-paced change, having a well-defined strategy is crucial. The competitive advantage is (and always will be) the ability to execute, which ultimately depends on your People. This idea is further explored in Cyndi’s new book, LeaderUp!, where developing and communicating strategy begins with strong leadership.

Leadership is influencing the movement of a group of people to accomplish positive and impactful outcomes. Inspirational leaders rally people around a shared vision, own their part of it, and create an environment where people love their work.

Go Slow to Go Fast

One question we are often asked is, “Who should be on the Strategic Planning Team?”

The easy answer is the Executive team.

The problem, however, is that most Executives are not the ones directly impacted by the strategy and executing the key changes. We believe strategy plays a critical role in determining what “must be done” for long-term sustainability and success. We also believe it starts with having the right people on the team.

Working with clients, we devote time upfront to determine which key leaders should be involved in the next level of growth, then provide training so they work successfully as a team. As we all know, the plan is worthless if we don’t have the right people on board to execute. And execution depends heavily on the people accountable to carry it out.

Plus, when you include diverse perspectives and people closer to the work, the output is much better. You need “strategic thinkers” on the team as well as doers.  We also include a broad “Listen and Learn” phase to engage key stakeholders in the process as well as all your “people.” If we want everyone to buy into a strategy, they must feel like they are part of the process.

The LeaderUp! Approach

In our pursuit of leadership and strategic planning, we have published books in leadership and strategy. Cyndi’s new release, LeaderUp!, hit the stands last week. This book emphasizes the importance of self-awareness and emotional intelligence in leadership. It underscores the notion that leaders who understand themselves and their teams on a deep level are better equipped to navigate challenges and drive results through powerful shared vision.

Her next book, TeamUp!, illustrates how powerful teams and communication methods build strong cultures that allow for strategic planning to thrive. Look for that release this fall!

The Dynamic Duo: Self-Awareness and Emotional Intelligence

Self-awareness is the cornerstone of effective leadership. Leaders who understand their strengths, weaknesses, and triggers can adapt their approach to different situations and personalities. This self-awareness fosters trust and open communication within teams, laying the foundation for successful collaboration and execution of strategic initiatives.

Emotional intelligence (EI) goes hand in hand with self-awareness. Leaders with high EI can recognize and manage their emotions effectively, enabling them to respond to challenging situations with composure and empathy. This skill set is invaluable in building strong relationships, resolving conflicts, and inspiring others to achieve common goals.

Aligning Strategy with People

Now, let’s tie it all together. Darcy’s book, Strategy in Motion, is a hands-on guide to navigate strategic planning.  Her dream is to democratize strategy for everyone to know and utilize. Strategic planning is not just about devising a roadmap; it’s about aligning that roadmap with the capabilities and aspirations of your people. When leaders prioritize the development and well-being of their teams, they create an environment where individuals feel valued, empowered, and motivated to contribute their best.

Achieving Results

So, how does prioritizing people translate into tangible results? Consider this: when teams feel supported and understood, they are more likely to embrace change, adapt to new challenges, and go above and beyond to achieve organizational objectives. Investing in people is investing in the long-term success and sustainability of your organization.

People Come First

At the end of the day, it’s all about the people. As we navigate the complexities of strategic planning and leadership, we can’t lose sight of this simple truth: putting people first is what really matters. When we prioritize the “who” before the “what,” is when the magic happens – we set the stage for meaningful collaboration, innovation, and success. And with resources like LeaderUp! and Strategy In Motion, we have the tools to nurture self-aware, emotionally intelligent leaders who don’t just talk the talk, but truly walk the walk.