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For some companies, strategy team is a high-ranking, elite group with the power to make the Board listen. For others, far less so. Discover why this matters and how to measure the importance of the team you’re potentially joining.
Why does this matter? I think there are two good reasons
Firstly, most people view a job in “strategy” as a stepping stone to something more operational. So if you join a team that’s well respected and empowered, you will work with more parts of the business and more senior people in those business units. The upshot is that you’ll find it easier to network your way out of strategy and into a more senior operational role within 18months. And even if you can’t network your way out, if you’re clear with your boss (i.e., the Strategy Director) about your career goals and he/she is powerful, then he/she will be able to fight your corner strongly. Secondly, the more important the strategy team is to the organisation, the greater the likelihood that your work will be implemented. After all, there’s nothing more frustrating than your hard graft going into a document that just sits on the shelf and gathers dust.
If you’re unsure how to measure the importance of the team you can try the following
- Ask about the organisational structure. If the Strategy Director is on the Board, that’s great. Second best would be your team reporting directly into the COO / CEO. If you’re more removed than that, you have to question how solid a career stepping stone moving to that team will be.
- Ask in the interview, or during a post-offer chat, for details about recent work that has been implemented. If they can’t name a good few examples from the last 6 months, be worried!
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