I'm a relatively new discipline lead and kind of shook by the transition from doing strategy work to guiding strategy work. Any advice on how to best direct work that's not "do it the way I'd do it", or doing it myself, which admittedly I find myself falling back on?

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Focus on how the story is crafted and substantiated rather than the solution itself. There are many ways to solve a problem: as long as the logic is clear and the brief is solid let your juniors develop their own approaches. Anticipate creative and client feedback and challenge their thinking. Then help them to strengthen their story - rather than suggesting alternate approaches. Let go of control. Have faith in your team. Be patient. Good luck - it’s a tough step!

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100% this. I tell my juniors (especially those who are newer to the practice) the problem we're trying to solve and that my priority is solving the problem in a smart and substantiated way. But that HOW they approach that is up to them, and in fact I don't want them to try to emulate the way I might approach it because my brain might work differently from them and they could easily see an angle or an approach that I wouldn't. When I give feedback, I always pose the feedback as questions first - eg: "how did you land on this?" and make suggestions like "why don't you try X and see where it leads you?" vs telling them what to do.

You just guide the people to the results you need. Big part of it is setting clear expectations and helping them achieve that. Another big piece is understanding their strengths, weaknesses, personal approach, etc and working around that.

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good comments hybrid model works for me give peeps more room when they’re rockin it work more closely with peeps who need help inspire account peeps & creatives & anyone else who’s great strategically to step up do some strategy work yourself from time to time - because it’s fun & its good for you

let your strategists find their own answers. thrown them in the pool and let them fail and then help them reflect how to perfect their own work. coach on form, but not on substance. get them to be accountable for their work. and give them as much stimuli as possible (books, articles, cases, movies, art, etc.).

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Audit every research effort and strategy going out. Create a shared model of success that connects peoples work to each other in new, complementary ways. Ask people at the end of internal reviews if they want your opinion or advice. Make your critique on their own follow through of their technique. What was the best of their thinking and how could they do a better job of pulling it through / sharpening to empathize with their clients work needs. Guide people out of right/wrong battles and into designing, listening for realization.

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Find a good book on coaching and start to practice the methods in how you interact with people. Try to work on how you draw out their best thinking and remember it's about them. Think about a producer in the studio with a great band, just because he/she knows the sound doesn't mean they step in to hold the instruments.

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Partner 1 Any book recommendations?

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Is this not a skill you had to master as a strategy director? Not a read, but that feels like a prerequisite to becoming a group.

Long story, but I had a bit of a non traditional path. I can see what you mean though!

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