A creative strategist knows how to share just enough information with the rest of the team, without overwhelming them with details that they can’t absorb yet. This turns strategic insight into leadership.
If you’re a strategist, here’s the bad news: your team can’t move as fast as you can think. If you’re providing strategy, that means the rest of the team is doing other things (even if there’s another strategist on the team). They’re depending on you to deliver clear thinking that’s original (provides an insight) and takes all things into account. This means you need to prepare a plan that’s strategic and comprehensive, but only share the relevant information with the team.
But here’s the good news: you get to spend all your time thinking and learning, with a little time spent teaching and encouraging. Here’s the thing. If you’ve developed a good strategy, people think you must have taken days of hard work to do it. But you know that, once you gathered enough facts, you did a week’s worth of work in an hour at Starbucks. And while you’re at it, you spent a second hour and came up with the next week’s plan as well.
Of course, you didn’t show your hand to your team. You want them to be able to benefit from your clarity while you enjoy the ability to decompress and soak in the problem. Because, after all, for creative strategists, you live for the problem.
In summary, strategy is great. But it’s only useful if it provides leadership. And leadership is like teaching. A teacher can’t unload all her knowledge — knowledge she’s gained over a lifetime of experience and study — in one class session. Strategists have to realize that their job takes them far, far ahead of the thinking of the rest of the team. It’s first things first.