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If you're hoping to move into a corner office as a director of strategy, start by planning your move strategically. Make sure you have a strong background and education in business, and work your way up the chain of leadership by getting involved – both with critical projects inside the company, and with industry action groups or associations outside the company. A director of strategy must keep abreast of industry and market trends, and should be good at networking to build a pool of resources, colleagues and followers.
A director of strategy looks for signals both inside and outside the company that could indicate threats to continued success or opportunities to grow the business and increase market share. He makes projections based on current trends and future expectations, and sets the strategic goals for the company. Working with the rest of the management team, the director of strategy ensures action and resource requirements are properly aligned to allow for those goals to be met, and then inspires the workforce to achieve them. This director continuously monitors company and market performance to determine if strategies need to be adjusted or new strategies should be introduced.
A director of strategy should be skilled and experienced in leading organizations through strategic changes and getting positive results. He should have a proven track record successfully managing teams at a leadership level and driving business improvements. This leader introduces metrics designed to track the effects of action plans and determine whether the actions are effective at meeting targets or whether new plans should be developed. Administratively, the director of strategy must be well versed in developing and interpreting analytical reports used to measure change. He must also have strong written, verbal, communication and presentation skills.
Characteristics and Skills
The Harvard Business Review and the Wharton School of Business report that strategic leaders should be able to anticipate, challenge and interpret; to make decisions based on these skills, to align organizational goals and resources and to continually learn. A director of strategy should also have the ability to build a workplace culture that is capable of executing change to meet business objectives. Because a success oriented culture is highly dependent on leaders who lead by example, this director must always be professional, work with integrity and actively promote ethics and compliance policies across the organization.
Professionals applying for this leadership role are generally required to hold a master's degree in business administration. An MBA with a concentration in strategic management provides for the best credentials. Candidates should be active in the industry, such as by networking with other professionals through association memberships. Most hiring companies expect to see at least 10 years of experience in a senior leadership role.
A careers content writer, Debra Kraft is a former English teacher whose 25-plus year corporate career includes training and mentoring. She holds a senior management position with a global automotive supplier and is a senior member of the American Society for Quality. Her areas of expertise include quality auditing, corporate compliance, Lean, ERP and IT business analysis.