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It’s Your Move — Playing to the Future

Updated: Aug 24, 2023

Like everyone else, I loved the “Queen’s Gambit” TV series. The show brought awareness to the power of the game of chess. The power of playing with offensive and defensive moves and planning several moves ahead. Chess is won with strategy. Strategy is an important competency of leadership.

When was the last time you felt comfortable planning ahead in your work and for your business? The amount of change and adaptability leaders have experienced has been massive. And due to this, there is a personal effect. What we knew about ourselves and how we worked has been changed. One of the effects of our current climate of change is the interruption it has caused to strategy and a leader’s strategic skills.

The cause of the impairment of strategic capability is a combination of fatigue and lack of clarity in timing of events. I see and hear about the fatigue of many leaders. How do leaders sustain their resilience and leadership to take care of themselves in order to take care of companies and their employees? Leaders have an opportunity to get clear on their own performance gaps and professional development needs. A leader’s gaps and needs are identified by self-knowledge, self-awareness and feedback.

Your Next Move

The last year has been a huge learning opportunity and challenge. There is now a readiness for leaders and companies to step into this new year with a renewed focus, to be the leader for this upcoming year. Work from home has been replaced by remote and hybrid work. The process, people and technology are enabling productive teams and companies. Now that we know how to work remotely, the priorities of the work to be done continue to evolve.

When you work on your strategy and plan your future, what are the news skills this future will demand for yourself and your team?

One of my network shared this quote with me. It’s accurate and relevant for the coming year. Bill Gates said “Most people overestimate what they can achieve in a year and underestimate what they can achieve in ten years.” Leaders don’t want to miss an opportunity to succeed. In a business climate full of exhausting change and complexities, they are more mindful of protecting their internal strength and enhancing their skills.

Systems for Success

If we look at more mature industries like legal and accounting, they previously haven’t had a lot of rapid change. Leaders and teams in mature and lower change industries are bearing a lot of change management burden. For younger companies, like tech and start ups, they have a mindset that they are always learning, they are used to constant change and jumping in. They see failure as learning. The more technical profession companies have created cultures that value right answers, process and protocol. Our new business environment has seen more leaders learn and change in a way they never have before. There’s more work to be done.

It is hard to plan for the future when clarity can only be seen 2 -3 months ahead. When there is uncertainty of the future, having a vision and a strategy is now even more important. A vision holds your focus. Many leaders are focusing on the current state. It’s time to be intent on turning attention to the setting and planning goals for the future. The Pivotal System for Success includes vision and strategy. The System for Success is built around an accurate assessment of current state, having a defined vision or strategy and prioritizing the gaps and work to be done.

Having a Vision for the Future

I’d like to get you thinking more about where you are going, specifically where you are going in 3-years and more from today.

It’s our dreams that feed us. We are hardwired to anticipate the future and , with all due respect to philosophers, the thrill of it. – The Economist

Outlining the future vision and goals are essential to success. As you start your year, check in on your strategic skills and any professional development needed. Yes, there are specific competencies and development that go along with enhancing your strategic skills.

How do you know if you’re strategic? Self-assessment and feedback are the starting points. Ask yourself, and others, how focused on the future you are. Rate yourself on a scale of 1 -5 (strongly disagree — strongly agree) on these capabilities:

  • I see ahead and accurately predict trends and opportunities

  • I make quality decisions with less information, in less time and with few precedents

  • I have high business acumen about my industry and my competition

  • I enhance my intelligence by proactively acquiring knowledge and skills

  • I analyze problems in new contexts and in ways that include non-conventional and imperfect approaches

  • I see challenges and obstacles as opportunity

When you look at leading strategists, they often stand alone. Being an exceptionally strategic leader may mean being an outlier. The question is: What is the strategic thinking needed from you?

I can help you self-assess and gather feedback on your strategic skills. Pivotal Coaching’s proprietary diagnostic tool is how we help leaders and companies get clearer on their current state and get focused on the development areas that help them get to their future state.

Our future needs dreams, visions and strategies. We need leaders who can dream, vision and strategize. Our future depends on strategic leaders. It’s your move to take.

Learn more about our diagnostics to refresh your self-knowledge, gather feedback and update your development plan. Pivotal Leadership Diagnostics


Lisa W. Haydon is a business leader and entrepreneur with over 30 years of operational experience leading teams in banking, capital markets, technology and professional services. Lisa’s instinct for sorting through business complexities, understanding distinctive leader personalities, and realizing results compelled her to leave a corporate career and become an entrepreneur.

Her company, Pivotal Growth, introduced a technology tool for leadership development assessment and planning. The suite of tools offers diagnostic capabilities to synthesize and accelerate people performance.

Lisa’s skills and the Pivotal Growth product help companies enhance their performance and support leaders achieving greater confidence and success.

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