Education competencies: Strategic agility and innovation management
This competency is one in a set of complete functional and behavioral qualities that, when fully realized, can help lead to professional success. View all competencies.
Anticipates future consequences and trends accurately; brings creative ideas to market; recognizes strategic
opportunities for change; creates competitive and breakthrough strategies.
|Level 1: Basic
||Level 2: Intermediate
||Level 3: Advanced
||Level 4: Expert
|Recognizes when change is necessary to do things better
||Recognizes strategic opportunities for change
||Articulates visions of possibilities and likelihoods
||Creates highly effective strategic vision and has an uncanny sense of how situations can unfold;
prepares well in advance to take fullest advantage of the changing environment
|Assesses which creative ideas and suggestions may work; can plan and operationalize the innovative
||Accurately assesses the value of creative ideas and suggestions; can plan and operationalize
||Anticipates future trends accurately
||Regarded as a proven and respected consultant to groups and organizations in the midst of complex
and challenging change
|Helps others in the creative thinking and brainstorming processes
||Manages the creative process of others, bringing their ideas to bear, and projects how potential
ideas may play out
||Recognizes viable creative ideas of others and brings them to the table and to those in a position
to implement them
||Creates competitive and breakthrough strategies and plans; generates an attitude of enthusiastic
expectancy in others regarding change and challenge
|Has a well-rounded perspective
||Has broad knowledge and perspective
||Has a global perspective and broad visionary acumen
Overdoing strategic agility and innovation management
- May be seen as too theoretical and get too far out in front of others in thinking and planning
- May not be tolerant of or have patience with day-to-day details
- May over-complicate plans; may not be able to communicate with tactical or less-complex people, preferring
creative people and undervaluing less creative people
- May err toward the new and reject the old
To improve your proficiency, ask yourself the following questions on a regular basis:
- What steps can I take to incorporate others’ creative ideas that I deem viable?
- What future trends do I see that I can bring to the attention of others?
- What future trends do I see that others should strategically prepare for now in order to help our organization
be all it can be?
- Have others come to me for advice and assistance to implement a major change?
- What processes or procedures are not working effectively and must be adjusted or eliminated?
- What books or professional publications can I read or subscribe to in order to broaden my perspective
and keep abreast of what's cutting edge in my field?
- What "sacred cows" or practices in our organization should I push to get eliminated or revised?
To avoid overdoing strategic agility and innovation management, ask yourself:
- Am I too theoretical or are my ideas too ethereal for others to envision and own?
- Am I too engaged in thinking and not dedicated enough to putting my ideas to practical application?
- Am I too quick to discard the "old" and replace with the "new"?
- Describe a situation that demonstrates your ability to anticipate future trends accurately. Please include
why it was necessary to accurately anticipate the trend or trends.
- Sometimes, we are in situations where our role islessabout being the one to come up with creative ideas andmoreabout facilitating the creative process or helping others get their ideas implemented.
Describe a time when you played this type of role. What did you do to facilitate the process? What
were the results?
- Describe a time when you demonstrated the ability to see the broadest possible view of an issue or challenge
or to project scenarios into the future.
Learning on the job
Learning on your own: These self-development remedies will help you build your skill(s).
- Understand your area and make time to strategize: Determine what has been important to those you serve—historically,
today, and in the future. Make time to plan a strategy, which will free up time for you later. Delegate
as much day-to-day activity as you can.
- Manage the creative process: Challenge the status quo and generate ideas without initially judging them.
Being a strategic visionary requires curiosity and imagination. Think about tomorrow and talk with
others about what they think the future will bring.
- Manage creative people, strategically speaking: Allow time to study problems deeply and turn the problems
upside down or consider the mirror image. Apply strategy by linking the variables to see how they
- Elicit creativity from the group: Have group members ask a lot of questions before they attempt to offer
solutions. Use tools, such as a flow chart, to examine and dissect the issue.
- Extend: Look at your problem as from a distance. Try to see variations in a theme, old ideas in new ways,
or borrow ideas from other fields. Extend everything to its extreme before getting down to its essence.
- Select the idea and then develop the strategy: Employ freedom early in the process, followed by structure.
Once you come up with the best notion, subject it to logic and critical thinking. Develop five clear
statements about where you want to go and the tactics you may use to get there.
- Develop a philosophical stance on failure, criticism, and speculation: Remember that innovation is built
upon failures and mistakes. Build immediate feedback loops to increase learning. Look for common
things in each failure that are missing in each success. Realize that the strategic planning process
is built on speculation and is a matter of one subjective estimate versus another.
- Move an idea through the organization: Manage your new idea through to implementation. You may need the
assistance of a consultant or a team to do this. Be willing to put forth effort in order to learn
how to be strategic (take a course, get a tutor).
- Deal with the politics and employ the strategy: Recognize that the path your innovation must travel through
your organization to reach implementation is a maze. Plan the route with consideration of the organization's
structure. Realize that strategic plans lead to choices about resources, deployment, staffing actions,
and financial plans.
- Become a student of innovation and strategic thinking: Consider how innovations outside of your organization
have come about. Broaden your perspective and learn a little about other things. Study the discipline
of strategic planning and learn the language to be more effective in planning sessions.
Learning from develop-in-place assignments: These part-time develop-in-place assignments will help you build
- Launch a new project, procedure, or curriculum.
- Relaunch an existing project or procedure that is not going well.
- Manage a temporary group of resisting people in an unpopular change or project.
- Assemble a team of diverse people to accomplish a difficult task.
- Work on a project that involves travel and the study of an issue.
Learning more from your plan: These additional remedies will help make this development plan more effective for
- Learning to learn better:
- Regularly read relevant publications.
- Learning from experience, feedback, and other people:
- Be a student of others. Study their behavior and what's effective and ineffective. Adapt
what you learn to improve yourself.
- Learn from those in authority. Distance yourself from your feelings and analyze what they do (and
do not do) well. Choose to imitate the successful behavior.
- Learn by observing others. Objectively study what they do.
- Learn from remote models. Read a book or an article about someone and observe what they do or don't
- Get feedback from those in authority. Communicate that you are open to constructive criticism and
are willing to work on issues they view as important.
- Use multiple models. Select role models of towering strengths (or glaring weaknesses). Learn from
characteristics rather than the whole person.
- Learn from interviewing others. Ask what, how, and why they do what they do, where they learned it,
and how they keep it current and relative.
- Learning from courses:
- Take a strategic course. Stretch your thinking to prepare for and to anticipate future challenges.
- Take a survey course designed to give a general overview of an area of interest.
- Participate in orientation events that communicate the strategies, mission, and goals of your organization.
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Copyright © 1992, 1996, 2001-2003 by Robert W. Eichinger and Michael M. Lombardo. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. This work is
derived from the LEADERSHIP ARCHITECT® Competency Library developed and copyrighted by Robert W. Eichinger and Michael
M. Lombardo for Lominger Limited, Inc.