So many candidates tell me “I am strategic” or “I am very strategic” or any variant of this.
What makes someone strategic? My humble view is, when you are in an interview situation you can clearly articulate how you’ve solved a problem for the company in the short term and provided some advantage to the business in the long term. Some candidates confuse tactical short term plans for long term solutions.
Fixing a sales hole this quarter in order to make budget is tactical, Running a promotion, tidying up merchandising area in store, planning your monthly sales territory visits. These are all tactical. These are the basics of doing your job. NOT strategic.
What makes someone strategic is how they gain long term leverage from what they are doing, e.g. the launch of a new product that may have a patent attached to it so you lock in your advantage well into the future. Signing key customers that are high margin and high dollar value into a longer term contract that takes away competitors ability to compete with you for a set period of time. These are strategic, they solve the problem in the short term AND the long term.
A note for when you are at interview, please have a couple of strategic examples of what you have done with previous employers, regardless of whether you call it strategic or not. It is a simple way to make you stand out compared to your peers.