From Karan’s Research, Read About One of the Top Seven Leadership Execution Tactics
Mastered by the World’s Most Successful Leaders

This is the third of a seven-part series where we will dive into the findings of our research regarding the most critical tactics that drive “differentiating value”, impact, influence and followership for any leadership effort. We will discuss what characteristics these successful leaders have, how these skills look in the real world workplace, as well as what value these skills provide for organizations whose leaders exemplify these tactics.

Each of these leadership tactics is based on a commissioned research study of 10K high-potential leaders conducted by Karan and her team at SDL. Through sharing our learnings via the Leading at the Top of Your Game Development Experience, we have worked with countless organizations to develop an army of individuals at all levels into leaders who are passionate, highly skilled, competitively advantaged, and execution-savvy.

While it feels good to know what to do next, in the workplace it is more common to find yourself bewildered as to the next best course of action. Successful leaders constantly have to “crack the code of the unknown” to find an answer, by gathering the people and data which will help you make the most informed decision possible.

Leading with Strategic Decision-Making is the ability to make good decisions or lead a good decision-making process, based on top strategic goals and priorities.

Individuals with a high acumen in Strategic Decision-Making not only make good and timely decisions, but they also are able to navigate making tough decisions with incomplete information, sometimes under tight time constraints. Leaders that exhibit strong Strategic Decision-Making acumen are able to think ahead and determine any industry trends or workplace dynamics that have the potential to impact future operations. They also appropriately involve other stakeholders in the decision-making process.

What does “Leading with Strategic Decision-Making” look like in individuals?  They . . .    

  • Make good and timely decisions based upon a mixture of analysis of facts, experience, and judgment
  • Think ahead and identify trends which may impact future decisions
  • Make tough decisions, sometimes with incomplete information and under tight deadlines
  • Appropriately involve others in the decision-making process
  • Take into account how decisions may impact the future

What is the “differentiating value” provided when demonstrating Strategic Decision-Making? 

  • Top priorities and goals are always at the forefront
  • The buy-in of other stakeholders is accelerated
  • The gap between making a decision and taking action is greatly decreased
  • Eliminates “decision-making fatigue” in teams and organizations

What does Leading with Strategic Decision-Making look like in the workplace?

Let’s look at a real world example of leading with Strategic Decision-Making using the popular online streaming media and video-on-demand company, Netflix.

When Netflix was founded, it chose to focus its payroll dollars, technology budget, product fulfillment, and marketing on an e-commerce business model instead of a traditional in-store business model.  They evaluated research data and market trends on human movie consumption.  They also involved a ton of super-smart consultants, advisors and staff to figure out how to increase their chances of disrupting a status quo market.  

At the end of the day, their strategic decision-making process gave them a long-term competitive edge over Blockbuster Video and other in-store movie companies, many of whom eventually went out of business.

What value does Strategic Decision-Making provide in the workplace?

Leaders that exemplify a high degree of Strategic Decision-Making acumen provide organizations with a competitive edge. So much so, that the ability to make fast, widely supported, high-quality strategic decisions, on a frequent basis, is a highly sought after competency in today’s top leaders.

Strategic Decision-Making involves six important tactical elements: anticipate, challenge, interpret, decide, align, and learn. Those with a strong acumen in Strategic Decision-Making know when to make decisions alone, when to involve others in the decision-making process, and when to step aside and let others decide. Their ability to make the appropriate choice ultimately contributes to them becomomg more respected and gaining confidence with their followers.

Leading with Strategic Decision-Making is only one of the seven leadership tactics that drive differentiating value.

The next article will discuss Leading with Intrapreneurship, which is the ability to build the organization by identifying new opportunities to develop or improve operations, products or services.



“Leverage your sweet spot”

The ability to use your areas of expertise to “peek around corners” in order to spot trends, connect the dots, and identify new areas of opportunity that others miss.


“The unwritten rules are the toughest to read”

The ability to have the fortitude to take calculated risks to stand up for what you believe and do the right thing, even when the consequences and/or future is unclear.


“Oh, the games people play”

The ability to assess interpersonal dynamics and operate effectively in a variety of social situations.


“A hero’s gamble to break boundaries”

Building the organization by identifying new opportunities to develop or improve operations, products, or services.


“Separating real leaders from the wanabees”

The ability to be persistent and tenacious in ensuring goals are achieved.


“The power of swagger”

The ability to make clear and convincing oral and/or written presentations in order to influence and lead others.


“Cracking the code of the unknown”

The ability to make good decisions or lead a good decision making process, based on top strategic goals and priorities.

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Shockingly Different Leadership is a human capital professional services consultancy that provides organizations access to the best consulting expertise in the areas of Talent Development, Organizational Development, and Human Resources – on an on-demand, project, or contract basis.


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