Construction Today - September/October 2017 - 11
* Does this person understand how to
separate strategy from tactics, the "what"
from the "how?" Can he or she keep the
strategy clearly in focus while executing
only those tactics that are relevant?
* Can this person keep a global perspective? Or does she or he become mired in
the details and tactics? "Analysis paralysis" has caused more than one otherwise
top performer to allow opportunity to
* Do obstacles stop this person? Or do
they represent challenges, not threats?
The ability to bounce back from setbacks and disappointments frequently
separates the strong strategist from the
* Can he or she create order during chaos?
Top strategists don't manufacture catastrophes. Instead, they keep problems
in perspective and realize very few
things are truly as dire as they first seem.
* Does this person have the ability to
recognize patterns, make logical connections, resolve contradictions and
anticipate the consequences?
* What success has this person had with
multi-tasking? Often the ability to handle a number of things at once implies
good prioritizing and flexibility.
* Can this person think on his/her feet?
Or does this person miss opportunities
because of an inability to respond?
Quickness does not guarantee effective
critical thinking skills, however. Some
people rush to make mistakes; others
take their time and then err. Look at
the overall track record. What caliber
of decisions prevails? And how much
time did the person take in making the
good ones, because, after all, there is
some merit in having the ability to make
effective decisions fast.
* Can this person prioritize seemingly
conflicting goals? Is this person able to
zero in on the critical few and put aside
the trivial many when allocating time
* When facing a complicated or unfamiliar problem, can this
individual get to the core of the issue and immediately begin to
formulate possible solutions? Or is he or she distracted by inconsequential factors or ones that are immaterial to your mission
* Is this person future oriented and able to paint credible
pictures of possibilities and likelihoods? Can he/she interpret
past experiences from new vantage points? Creativity and
analytical reasoning don't always go hand in hand, but when
they do, a top strategist is often at the controls. However, often
strong strategic thinkers are concrete and practical, but agile.
The key question remains, "Can this person solve complicated,
* How do unexpected and unpleasant changes affect this person's
performance? If their analytical reasoning is well-honed and
organized, systematic decision makers can respond favorably to
change, even if they don't like to.
* When in positions of leadership, does this person serve as a
source of advice and wisdom? Can she or he act as an effective
sounding board to others who struggle with complex issues?
Dr. Linda Henman,
the Decision Catalyst®,
is one of those rare
experts who can say
she's a coach, consultant,
speaker and author. For
more than 35 years, she
has worked with Fortune
500 companies and small
businesses that want to
think strategically, grow
dramatically, promote intelligently, and compete
successfully today and
tomorrow. Some of her
clients include Emerson
Electric, Boeing, Avon
and Tyson Foods.
The core competencies that drive a particular construction company may differ, but the ability to think analytically and dispassionately remains constant. The overarching question is this: "When acting
in a strategic role, has this person typically performed as needed?" If
the answer is "yes," the person probably has the innate talent to be
a strategic thinker and will just need to improve requisite skills to
support the talent.
If the answer is "no," don't gamble by putting this person in a
more demanding position. Virtually all organizations need more
strong critical thinkers who can learn from mistakes and make bold
decisions. When you attract, develop, retain and promote these stars,
you can't help but improve your company.
SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2017 CONSTRUCTION-TODAY.COM