Not long ago, LinkedIn was filled with people who called themselves strategists. Even today, you can find several profiles that have “Strategist” as a part of the title. You can find a variety of strategist titles:Marketing Strategist, Sales Strategist, Design Strategist, Innovation Strategist, and so forth. While being strategic in your approach to work is a huge plus, I would readily pass up the opportunity to hire a person who is only focused on strategy! Here’s why I believe you should change your mindset, resume, and LinkedIn profile title from being just a strategist.
Strategy alone isn’t enough
It has been over a decade since any professional could research a business problem, department, or team in order to build a strategy and simply hand it back over to his/her client to execute. Typically this sort of strategist engagement would last several months. In many other cases, senior level and even C-Suite hires would set the strategic vision and plan for how their team(s) could execute. Again, these executives will step in to put out any fires along the way and set more plans in place.
Today, however, organizations are getting more flat and less hierarchical. Managers and executives at every level have to execute at some level in addition to setting the strategy and delegating tasks to their team members. Yes, even CXOs have to do their own grunt work. Thus while having sound strategy and a great strategist in your team is a must, strategy alone isn’t enough anymore. The lines between strategy and execution have blurred and are steadily fading away.
Strategic planning is inherent to every task
If you really think about it, strategic planning is pervasive across departments, teams, levels, and tasks in an organization. Every single task you take up in your professional life has some level of research, planning, or strategy behind it – you are always strategizing. To put it in simple terms, you strategize even while executing!
Many companies, even the large and established ones, have entirely stopped distinguishing between strategy and execution. Businesses that have followed conventional management practices are scrambling to bridge the strategy-execution gap, and in the process they are realizing that the gap shouldn’t even exist in the first place!
It’s the age of specialists
In order to keep the businesses more efficient and lean, business leaders are relying more on specialists. If you look at the types of consulting firms that are now successful, you will realize that they are hyper-specialized and offer services for a particular niche. Even large consultancies such as Booz-Allen Hamilton or Bane have verticals catering to particular sectors. Public Relations (PR) firms are getting more specialized, too – you have PR firms for the hospitality sector, for B2B technology, for the luxury fashion industry, etc. Specialists offer skills that are needed for a certain time frame, project, or undertaking. The skills that a specialist will bring on board will cut across both strategy and execution.
So the next time you want to use the word strategy in your profile, think again. Use it as a part of your profile title – for example, Copywriter and Digital Marketing Strategist. Better yet, use the word specialist, for example, Senior Enterprise Sales Specialist. The word specialist speaks volumes about your expertise and experience in a particular niche.
In a business world that is so dynamic, strategy alone doesn’t cut it anymore.
Edwin has authored 9Lenses Insight to Action:A Social Approach to Business Optimization and Snapshot9 What’s Your Picture?:Accelerate Your Business Performance. Click here to download the first chapter of 9Lenses Insight to Action for free!