Having Strategic Conversations


Gaining mastery of systems thinking and strategic management

Aimed at helping leaders discover how to use strategic conversations in order to ask better questions and develop stronger insights into shaping and improving their business strategies, the Women Power Network (WPN) kicked off their first gathering of the year on 24 February 2017 at the Sunway Resort Hotel & Spa, Petaling Jaya.


Shaping strategy

Far more than a social network, the WPN is guided by its mission to serve the needs of women leaders. The three primary objectives of the WPN are first, to assist in learning and gaining new, relevant knowledge; second, to help nurture powerful connections between women leaders; and finally, to provide a platform for them to support each other.


Such mastery helps these leaders to anticipate the next wave of market transitions and thereby, prepare and plan how they will choose to respond.



In this first event, the topic, Strategic Conversations, was selected because it is regarded as a top leadership competency. When leaders understand what it means to be able to think strategically and consequently, to have these strategic conversations with relevant people, it shows that they understand the impact of business disruption both to the organisation as well as the self. In turn, this helps those who choose to master such conversations to better understand their strengths and relevance as leaders.


Such mastery helps these leaders to anticipate the next wave of market transitions and thereby, prepare and plan how they will choose to respond. When women show other leaders, peers and subordinates that they understand the impact of strategic conversations, they evidence this through their ability to ask the right questions and provide meaningful insight into any strategy development and conversation, whether this occurs in the boardroom or within senior executive meetings.


The event featured subject matter expert, Stephen Lin and brought together 100 senior women leaders across a number of diverse industries to brainstorm on the topic. Lin, who is a regular speaker on this issue, is the Asian Regional Managing Partner of Haines Centre for Strategic Management and is co-author with Steve Haines, of the book, Enhancing Your Strategic IQ – Winning Strategies from A – Z.


In his presentation, Lin discussed how awareness is a necessary precondition to making choices, drawing reference to how Polaroid use their brand recognition and founding technology to stay relevant.


A top leadership competency


With well-crafted stories and statistics peppering his presentation, Lin made it clear that strategic thinking is truly a top leadership competency. He also touched on the recurrent organisational topic, managing change.


The talk paved the way for group discussion thereafter, on what attendees considered their top three external environment issues that affected their future. The discussion and brainstorming were conducted in small groups, segmented by industry. Following the discussion, the groups presented their findings and views, leaving everyone clear that the discussion raised more questions than answers.


Taking a strategic approach to everything you do – as a leader – is as mentioned, a top leadership competency, which is why it forms the basis of one of the modules in the Women Directorship Programme – Enhancing Board Leadership. This three-day programme devotes a full day to the Strategic Leadership module, designed to develop strategic mindset and leadership capability of attendees.


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