Implementing a Strategic Leadership Approach for Long-Term Success

Published November 15, 2022

Courses mentioned in this post: Strategy Execution for Public Leadership
Series mentioned in this post: Leadership, Communication, and Transformation


How do you execute a strategic initiative that has a long-lasting impact? Do you know how to effectively communicate your strategic approach, gathering input and support from key stakeholders? How will you anticipate and respond to scrutiny from shareholders, news media, and the public?

Public sector leaders face unique challenges when it comes to making strategic,  business-oriented decisions. If not thoroughly planned and executed, these decisions have real consequences with high-stakes outcomes. What can we learn from world leaders and experts who have faced these monumental decisions? How can you create a high performing team to successfully execute strategic ideas?

In our course Strategy Execution for Public Leadership, former United States Pentagon Chief of Staff and Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Global Security Eric Rosenbach will lead you through real-life public sector challenges, showing you how purpose-driven strategy and execution lead to long-term adoption and success.

Without a cohesive plan and top-notch team to execute on their initiatives, even well-intentioned leaders will experience failure. By studying decisions of key public leaders you will better understand how to develop strategies that not only align with your organizational goals, but also gain insight into the challenges and scrutiny that come along with making public decisions.

The course explores six main strategic planning concepts that will enable leaders to deal with the unique challenges and structures within public leadership:

1. Effective Strategy Formulation

Formulating an effective strategy to tackle any problem or opportunity is key to achieving your intended goals. In this module, you’ll learn how to first define and formulate your strategy using guiding questions.

Through a case study of women in the United States military, you’ll use environmental scan tools like a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) and PESTEL Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Environmental, and Legal (PESTEL) analyses to identify key elements and stakeholders in your strategy.

2. Project Planning and Management

To increase performance and productivity, public leaders need skills to plan and manage operations efficiently and effectively. You will identify components of strategy (the Why, How, and What) and break down strategic goals into concrete objectives.

While examining a case study about the recent refugee crisis in Germany, you will generate an activity list using a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) and determine metrics for measuring progress.

3. Financial Management and Technology

Public leaders will need to assess and use financial and technical tools to responsibly manage resources and maintain public trust. In this module, you’ll generate cost estimates, calculate burn rates, and compare popular project management systems like waterfall and agile methodologies.

You will reflect on common challenges for tools and talent through a case study about launching the website.

4. Leadership and Team Building

By understanding the styles and traits of an effective leader, you can strengthen your leadership skills. In this module, learners will analyze the role of formal and informal authority.

You’ll get the chance to identify leadership styles and reflect on your own. You’ll learn from Oni Blair, Executive Director of The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, and examine a case study of leadership and team building within the organization Equitable Transportation for Houston. You’ll then learn how to apply skills for developing public sector teams.

5. Strategic Communication

It’s vital as a public leader to communicate your ideas purposefully and persuasively to garner necessary support and commitment. By identifying communications strategies that align with your audience and purpose, you will be a clearer, effective leader.

In this module, you’ll also compare the uses and roles of different communication channels to find the ones that are best suited for your organization’s goals.

6. Risk Management

In the final course module, you’ll assess risks and craft ways to mitigate them so they do not derail your efforts. You’ll hear from Juliette Kayyem, a national leader in crisis management, and identify different risk types through a case study of the Ebola epidemic in Liberia.

You will assess risks using an Impact-Probability Matrix and match mitigation strategies to risks to create a contingency plan.

At the end of the course, you will complete an evaluation to understand a case study’s level of impact and how it could improve in the future. You will be able to describe the Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability and Learning (MEAL) process, identify key aspects of the Logical Framework planning tool, and compare that tool to a Performance Management Plan.

Register now for our Strategy Execution for Public Leadership course to learn how to develop strategies for long-term public leadership success.

Discounts Available For Those Who Qualify

If you’ve previously taken a course with Harvard Online, take advantage of our Past Participant discount for this course!

Additionally, learners with non-profit, student, military, or government affiliations can take advantage of discounts for this course. For more information on discounts and to apply, visit the bottom of our Course Policies and Discounts page.


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Meet Former Pentagon Chief of Staff, Eric Rosenbach

Eric Rosenbach is Co-Director of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, and a Lecturer in Public Policy.  As Pentagon Chief of Staff from 2015–2017, Rosenbach led and managed the execution of dozens of high-profile strategic initiatives for the largest public sector organization in the world.

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