Effective leaders are able to devise a strategy which will lead to organizational success and then motivate the organization to follow that strategy. The ability to think strategically comes easier for some people than others, but Beeson believes that following certain guidelines can build a person's strategic abilities.

People should broaden their knowledge by:

* Learning more from customers and others in the organization.

* Broaden their perspective on the business and the industry by working in different positions and cross-functional teams.

* Building their knowledge of strategic planning through educational courses or coaching.

* Letting people see their involvement in strategic thinking through company or unit planning.

Prospective leaders can also improve their communication skills which are needed to inspire and motivate people. It is also possible to compensate for weak strategic skills by leaning on others who excel in strategic thinking and then motivating others to follow the strategic plan.

It is harder to demonstrate strategic skills when serving in roles which are seen as support or functional in nature, such as Human Resources or finance. However, people can define the value proposition for their unit and make plans to improve on its delivery to show their strategic abilities.

In general, it is important for people who want to become leaders to avoid the "first lieutenant syndrome," which can result when a person's boss is seen as the prime strategic thinker and the person as a number two. In this case, the person may need to initiate a conversation with the boss to find ways to demonstrate strategic thinking through a separate initiative or a distinct assignment.

Overall, people wanting to move to higher levels of responsibility need to work on developing and displaying strategic vision and skills.

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