The Five Strategic Actions of Leaders

by Valarie A. Washington

Leadership is a set of actions and the demonstration of skills that helps one build strong working relationships, inspire team collaboration, and influence others to great RESULTS.

These five strategic actions will firmly establish you as a leader and help you position your team or organization for success.

  1. Predicting

    The faster change is predicted, the slower change appears, so leaders must be able to identify the trends that will affect where "we" are today and what "we" must do to ensure our success tomorrow.

    Predicting trends means recognizing patterns, signs, and signals of change and then using the information to develop possible scenarios for the future. The act of predicting allows leaders to focus on opportunities and plan responses rather than simply reacting to problems as they arise.

  2. Visioning

    We have the ability to solve only the problems we see, so leaders must have a special talent for discovering unexplored paths leading to greater possibilities.

    To get an accurate picture of what's going on, it is important to spend time analyzing a problem from all possible angles. The act of visioning creates a compelling picture based on assumptions about the future. The vision of leaders isn't a pie in the sky hope for the future but a statement of direction that is bold but ultimately possible. Done well the leader's carefully crafted portrait energizes the team, inspires action, clarifies priorities, and directs the charge.

  3. Assessing

    The GOAL of any organizational project is to close the GAP between where we are and where we want to be, so leaders must be able to identify the problems, consider various solutions and then select the best options.

    Many problems could be solved if we had unlimited people, material resources, money, and time. Leaders are good at assessing how much change is possible giving the constraints of reality. Leaders answer the question, "What will it take to get from here to there?" To adequately assess what needs to be done to close the gap, leaders quantify: How much? How many? How well? How fast? How often?

  4. Designing

    Goals define the results that will be achieved. Goals if reached by accident are seldom repeated and can't be replicated so a leader must be able to develop forward-looking executable plans to keep the team moving forward.

    A well-designed strategic response lays out in clear concise terms who needs to change, who will be affected, what they will need to achieve, what they have to do, why they should do it, and how it will be done.

    To develop great plans, successful leaders:

    • Break the problem down into manageable parts.
    • Clearly state the goal(s).
    • Focus by prioritizing which areas to investigate.
    • Demonstrate clear analytical evidence to support their position.
    • Identify key members of the team and their roles.
    • Identify potential upstream and downstream consequences.
    • Develop a set of results-focused actions.
  5. Communicating

    Leaders have the responsibility of communicating their message in a way that motivates others to action. The greatest of communication skills won't help you if you're not using them to talk about the results that matter.

    Leaders must always at all cost talk about the right things to the right people at the right time.

Copyright © Valarie A. Washington

About the Author

Valarie Washington, President of Think 6 is a knowledge broker helping companies improve organizational effectiveness, team performance, and individual productivity. Author of Performance Case Analysis, she delivers high impact training to corporations throughout the U.S. and internationally. Contact Valarie at or by calling 630-705-1189. Visit us at

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