Strategic Manager Job Description
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While all members of a company’s management team have some responsibility for strategy, they’re not always in synch with where the company’s currently positioned and where it needs to go. A strategic manager helps top leadership establish and prioritize business objectives that align the company with opportunities and protect it from unwarranted risks. These managers use analytical and problem solving skills to build roadmaps to lead the company toward gaining a sustainable competitive advantage.
The strategic manager works with workplace leaders to find and take advantage of opportunities for growth and improvement. This manager uses tools such as balanced scorecards to identify business strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. After analyzing the results, the strategic manager leads teams in developing plans to align organizational objectives with achievable targets intended to meet stockholder and leadership expectations. Plans typically drive improvements to internal processes, customer focused services and products and marketing strategies.
Setting the Direction
The strategic manager uses project and program management skills to lead teams in assessing strategic planning projects. Knowledge of and experience working with project and portfolio management methodologies helps this manager to align multiple projects focused on setting the strategic direction of the company. Planning projects include the development of financial models and business cases that enable executives to make informed decisions before establishing strategic objectives.
Skills and Qualifications
Strategic managers should have excellent analytical, presentation and communication skills. Dynamic characteristics give this manager the power to influence based on clearly articulated recommendations and concisely presented data that anticipate leadership questions. Candidates for a position as a strategic manager should have several years of progressive business experience. Most companies expect strategic managers to hold master's degrees and prefer candidates with MBAs.
Strategic managers typically fit within a company's top leadership team or report to a member of that team, although titles for this position can vary, ranging from project manager to vice president. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a median salary for top executives of $106,180 in 2020. Projected job growth through 2022 is at 11 percent, which is on pace with job growth overall.
Top Executives salary
- Top 10% Annual Salary: More than $208,000 ($100/hour)
- Median Annual Salary: $106,180 ($51.05/hour)
- Bottom 10% Annual Salary: Less than $44,530 ($21.41/hour)
- Leading Strategic Initiatives: Vice President, Director, Manager of Strategic Initiatives -- Position Description Best Practices
- University of North Texas: MBA -- Business Studies (Flex)
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook -- Top Executives
- Harvard Business Review: Using the Balanced Scorecard as a Strategic Management System
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: Top Executives
- Career Trend: Top Executives
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.