Professional Development for Strategic Managers
For those that want to develop their strategic leadership skills, there are so many options. So where do you start to learn strategic management skills? I suggest that first, you need a clear understanding of your current knowledge and skills in strategic management. As with any leadership development activities, self awareness is a cornerstone for strategic leadership development.
Secondly, you need to understand the specific strategic management skills that are most important in your organization (or the organization that you aspire to!). And then consider – how can you best build on your current strategic leadership skills to align with the organization vision, values and strategy?
Each individual and situation is unique, and thus, requires individual employee development strategies. But how do you balance the cost of individual needs within your broader professional development program? I believe this answer lies in a modular approach, whereby an organization has a number of courses available that individuals can chose from. This provides a flexible approach, allowing each employee to learn strategic management skills that are most relevant to their needs.
Therefore, I have developed my strategic management training program as a number of stand alone modules. While I believe they are ALL important for strategic leadership development, some may be more relevant at this time. And perhaps others will become more relevant as you continue on your strategic leadership career path. As you continue to learn different strategic management skills, you also move towards strategic thinking.
But where does one start to learn strategic management skills? To assist participants with setting priorities on strategic leadership training, I developed this self assessment tool. I hope you find it helpful in determining where to start with courses. You can also download the self assessment PDF from our website. And always feel free to contact me with questions about professional development for strategic managers.
Strategic Leadership Skills Self Assessment
Part 1: Strategic Planning
- Do you have a clear plan on how you will achieve the goals of your organization?
- Are you aware of the external threats and opportunities that could impact your organization in the longer term?
- Do you understand the different approaches to strategic planning, and how to align these with your desired outcomes?
- Do you understand when and how you should involve other stakeholders in your strategic planning process?
- Do you know how to use objective techniques (as opposed to opinions) to define your internal strengths and weaknesses?
- Are you able to apply techniques to develop and assess several scenarios?
- Do you know how to define a clear and actionable strategy?
Part 2: Optimizing Results with Performance Management
- Do you have a clear understanding of the terms vision, mission, strategy, goals, objectives, values, measures and targets?
- Do you understand the benefits of a Results Based approach to management?
- Do you understand how to link your business unit goals to organizational plans (such as the strategic plan) with the Balanced Score Card?
- Are you able to set clear and measurable goals for your business unit and each of your employees?
- Do you set clear expectations for your employees, including the use of employee performance plans?
- Do you know how to apply different types of performance measures (quantitative, qualitative, objective, subjective)
- Are you able to effectively evaluate and communicate results?
If you answered no to one or more of these, then Optimizing Results with Performance Management would be very helpful for you. This course is also a good foundation for our course on Improving Employee Performance.
Part 3: Improving Employee Performance
- Are you able to effectively apply non-disciplinary approaches to help your employees perform better?
- Are you able to clearly communicate your expectations to employees and use an employee performance plan to define how they will be evaluated?
- Do you know how to set goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bounded?
- Are you able to use a variety of tools and techniques to provide a fair evaluation?
- Do you communicate the results of your evaluation effectively, providing both positive (reinforcing) and corrective feedback?
- Do you know how to help your employee assess problems, determine the barriers to their success and develop a plan on how to overcome them?
- Do you understand the individual nature of motivation, and how to apply different types of motivation?
If you answered no to one or more these, I recommend first taking Optimizing Results with Performance Management and then following with Improve Employee Performance. The two combined will give you solid skills in all aspects of performance management. These can be taken together as a bundle called Total Performance Management, at a special rate of $299 for both courses ($199 individual). However, the courses are designed so that you can take them individually. So you could just jump in to Improve Employee Performance if you wish.
Part 4: Cross Cultural Leadership
- Is your workplace becoming more multi-cultural?
- Have you experienced conflict and/or communication problems when working with employees, clients, suppliers, partners from other cultures?
- Have you felt that some team members just don’t seem to understand what is expected of them or just don’t try to fit in?
- Do you want to leverage the positive aspects of diversity?
- Do you want to become aware of you own cultural conditioning, and how that impacts your beliefs and behaviour?
- Do you want to be able to provide effective leadership with people from different cultures?
- Do you want to help your cross cultural team to perform better?
If you answered yes to one or more of these, then I recommend taking our Cross Cultural Leadership course. If you answered yes to number 6 and 7, then you will also want to take our advanced course when it becomes available soon.
Part 5: Change Management and Leadership
- Can you explain the difference between change leadership and change management?
- Do you have a clear understanding of the drivers for change in your organization?
- Do you know the factors that can influence people’s perception of change, and influence either acceptance or resistance?
- Do you know why 70% of change initiatives fail?
- Are you aware of best practices and frameworks for change management?
- Do you have effective tools for managing change?
- Can you identify how employees and other stakeholders may be impacted, and use techniques to inform and engage them in the process?
If you answered no to one or more of these questions, then How to Lead and Manage Change will be very helpful. Change is happening all around us, so this will be an increasingly important skill.
Part 6: Problem Solving and Decision Making
- Are you faced with complex problems or decisions in your workplace?
- Do you feel you need more structure and tools to manage through these complex and often difficult situations?
- Have you ever felt that you solved a problem, but it comes back – perhaps in different forms?
- Do you need to involve others (employees, managers in other departments, stakeholders) in problem solving and decision making?
- Have you found that people seem to have different opinions and perspectives on the problem, and it can be difficult to more forward?
- Would you like to have objective and relevant information to support your decision making?
- Do you want a systematic approach to find the root cause of problems, evaluate options, reach decisions and implement solutions?
If you answered yes to one of more of these questions, then Advanced Problem Solving and Decision Making Techniques is for you! This course focuses on tools and techniques for solving complex and complicated problems, collecting information and using a variety of techniques to support effective decision making.
A New Approach to Professional Development for Managers
Yes, you can learn to be a better manager without large chunks of time and money! The Strategic Manager learning system has been designed for busy managers to learn on the job, at your own pace and location. All of our courses come with a 30 day money back guarantee – so there’s no risk!
New Subscription Option!
Get access to all 6 of our advanced management courses for only $39 CAD per month! Take the courses you need WHEN you need them. And you can cancel time.