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A strategist is a person with responsibility for the formulation and implementation of a strategy. Strategy generally involves setting goals, determining actions to achieve the goals, and mobilizing resources to execute the actions. A strategy describes how the ends (goals) will be achieved by the means (resources). The senior leadership of an organization is generally tasked with determining strategy. Strategy can be intended or can emerge as a pattern of activity as the organization adapts to its environment or competes. It involves activities such as strategic planning and strategic thinking.
Types of strategists by field
The strategy role exists in a variety of organizations and fields of study.
In large corporations, strategic planners or corporate financial planning and analysis (FP&A) personnel are involved in the formulation and implementation of the organization's strategy. The strategy is typically set by business leaders such as the Chief Executive Officer and key business or functional leaders and is reviewed by the Board of Directors.
A design strategist has the ability to combine the innovative, perceptive and holistic insights of a designer with the pragmatic and systemic skills of a planner to guide strategic direction in context of business needs, brand intent, design quality and customer values.
A sport strategist is a professional that performs scouting and analysis of the players involved in an upcoming competitive match. Sports strategists typically analyze film footage, organize video libraries, and recommend attacks and defensive strategies in order to capitalize on an opponents' weaknesses.
Working closely with investment managers, a principal investment strategist contributes revenue by providing principal investment analytics and alternative product structuring.
A banking strategist partners with investment bankers and capital market experts on corporate finance and capital structure analyses to identify and execute banking transactions.
Within the financial services industry, strategists are known as “strats”.
An IT Strategist develops an IT strategy that is aligned with the business strategy to implement systems to give business processes efficiency and productivity gains and therefore a possible competitive advantage.
Strategist as a personality type
Strategists are known to have an INTJ personality trait, based on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). The MBTI was derived from Psychiatrist Carl Jung theory of psychological types enabling us to have a better understanding of people’s personality traits and what their strengths are as a person. It is commonly found that Strategists are more prone to possess a combination of 4 specific personality traits, which includes Introversion, iNtuition, Thinking and Judgment forming the acronym INTJ. However, this combination of personality traits is known to be very rare amongst people, making strategist to be very sought after especially by major firms. It is possible at times to find that the vision or ideas of a strategist may not be align with conventional ideas which can make it difficult for others to accept or envision.
People who possess a strategist mindset are generally capable of doing well in any possible field due to the various traits that they own. Strategist tends to follow a career path, which challenges them mentally in terms of development and seeks to work with people who are in the same caliber in terms of intelligence and competency. As it is highly likely that people with a strategist mindset tend to be more single-minded and may not be appreciative of other’s effort, it is crucial for them to work in a suitable working environment
Common careers that strategist tend choose are:
- Project Management
- Research and development
Born around the 5th century BC, Sun-Tzu was known to be the “father of strategy”  notably for being the author of the treatise on military strategy, known as “The Art of War” in English, which revolutionized military strategy throughout the Far East. It is said that, Sun-Tzu managed to convince the King of that era that he knew how to train soldiers and proceeded to demonstrate his ability in military strategy by training the King’s concubines. The reason for Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War” being so famous is partly due to the reason of Asia becoming an economic power house, by understanding the concepts given, businessmen from the West are able to have a better understanding of the way businesses are managed in countries such as China, Japan and Korea. Furthermore, Sun Tzu’s work is comparably shorter and uses less jargon as compared to the works of other strategist such as Clausewitz.
Carl Von Clausewitz
Carl Von Clausewitz (1780-1831) was a Prussian military theorist and strategist who was known for his originality in terms of ideas, influenced mainly by the Napoleonic war. Clausewitz most famous work was called “On War,” however it was not finished and was published posthumously. It is also said that the work of Clausewitz resonates the works of Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War”. Clausewitz
Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965) was the prime minister of the United Kingdom and was in office from 1940 to 1945 and 1951 to 1955. Churchill was known for his leadership role during World War II. However, there were many controversial incidents, which resulted in Churchill’s reputation as a strategist to waver between being known as a savior and a scapegoat. The battle of Gallipoli, which started on April 25, 1915 was one of the major setbacks in Churchill’s military career, having pressed on the battle of Gallipoli resulted in the casualty of over 200,000 allied soldiers.
Napoleon Bonaparte (August 15, 1769 – May 5, 1821) was a military general who later established the French empire in 1804 becoming emperor as well. Napoleon was known to be the pioneer during the French revolution. Bonaparte was in charge of leading the French army to victory during the Battle of Marengo fought on the 14th of June 1800. His strategic thinking and plans allowed the French to win despite having less in numbers and resources.
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