Through my many coachings and management experiences, I have come to develop what I call the Unique Strategic Contribution to help leaders focus on the impact they want to create. In fact, through my experiences, I have come to realize that many leaders experience the same struggle, that is to say that they find it difficult to step out of their expert role to focus on their leadership role and “play at the right level”, as I like to say, and therefore focus on their Unique Strategic Contribution (USC). You will find exercices to define your USC in my book Empower your Team.
And you, do you ever focus on certain tasks and tell yourself that you probably shouldn’t be doing at your level? Generally, if you’re not doing what you should, you’ll feel it. And that’s why I’ve developed this concept, to define a term that allows us to focus our intention and attention in the right place.
In fact, I had initially developed this concept for leaders, but know that it applies to everyone, regardless of our level in the organization, because we can all determine our USC by asking ourselves where we should be, what we should be focusing our attention on and at what level.
The Unique Strategic Contribution is a concept which determines your highest strategic level, i.e. what only you can achieve in your team. It is the element on which we should focus our attention and energy to create the impact we want to have in an organization.
For example, as a leader, what should you focus your attention on? Is it the administrative management of your agenda? Is it the daily emergencies of clients? Should you rather not focus on giving your team a goal, a sense of direction so that they know where they need to go?
It’s not easy for a leader to focus on his USC, because our expert hat often takes over. We want to give the answer, because we often know the answer. But is it really how we should be focusing our attention? If we don’t take care of certain things, someone else will have to. So you have to delegate, and that’s not the easiest part, but it’s essential to focus your attention on your USC. Otherwise, you will not be able to create the real impact you want to have in your organization. You must therefore learn to make room for your team so that each member can make decisions in his or her field of expertise and at his or her level.
Once your USC is determined, you will discover that you have time to do things that really matter, that you have more time in your schedule to focus your energies on what really matters, at your level. This will also contribute greatly to making your team more accountable. It will give you a clearer vision of the impact you want to have, and it will make it easier for you to establish your KPIs and track them to measure whether you are achieving your USC goals. Your mindset will probably be completely different, as you will have identified where to focus your energies and this will allow you to say no to what does not belong in your USC. You will waste less energy on issues that did not help you make the impact you wanted to make.
In your team, what should you alone accomplish? What, in your role, should be done by only you? What can you suggest which is your possible highest strategic level?
You can also think about your team’s USC to determine how you can help your team focus on its USC. This will allow you to validate if your USC is well aligned with your team’s and simultaneously validate your own USC.
You can ask yourself the following questions: What is the Unique Strategic Contribution of your team, your department? What is the thing only your team can do in the organization?
Briefly, the exercise may not be easy at first, as it can be difficult to determine what only we in our team should do but think of it in terms of the impact you want to have – this should help you. Know that having experienced it in many organizations, determining your USC will definitely change your state of mind and allow you to achieve results you did not think possible at first.
*For more exercices to define yours, read the chapter on the USC in my book Empower your Team.
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