From Achiever to Strategist

From Achiever to Strategist

«Leaders are made, not born, and how they develop is critical for organizational change». Bill Torbert 


—– Article written by Irina Smirnova, the Program Manager of “Vertical Leadership Development”—–

The current external challenges are telling us that a modern leader should have a vision of the future, should be quite flexible, adaptive, able to see the changes in the system and quickly respond to them, do not be afraid to change something and develop. Picture of the world the leader creates to him(her)self calls logic of action. This logic of action can show how a person thinks, what he relies on, what is valuable / important for him now. Accordingly, it is easy to see what decisions are made, and to what a leader can lead the company.

Today’s top management should have the logic of action for at least the level of Strategist, maximum – Alchemist.

I am, as a coach, often have to work with leaders-Achievers, Individualists and Strategists. Here I want to share my own observation: the best level to work for the coach is the level of Individualist. This logic of action is characterized by non-judgmental and full “acceptance” of the client, recognition of another person talents and the desire to develop them. The level of the Achiever suggests that a coach in this logic of action will hurry up a client, will be upset over the slow pace of movement and require the client to be more productive. At the level of the Strategist there is a certain author’s position, his own zone of influence, greater mindfulness, the scale of impact increases. Strategists are called some engines, catalysts, because all-around begins to move with their advent, they are fans of development. And when the Strategist is “activated” in a leader – he is able to see the beauty of all the logics of action, he is able to accept them, which does not happen in the previous levels.

There are certain “friction” between the logics of action. For example, the Individualist can not stand the Expert, because for the Individualist world is very ambiguous, and he can not understand how is it possible to be so critical.

For the Individualist it’s hard to understand the Achiever, because this logic of action leads to fatigue and burnout.

The Strategist – is the first logic of action, when there is acceptance of others. And being in the Strategist, you can easily get to any logic of action.

With activation of each logic of action leader just like learn to see a more complicated system, because each logic of action differentiates with complexity of the system. For example, the opportunist is short-sighted, he lives here and now, but he has well aligned boundaries of his world view, reactions to what is happening. The Diplomat – on the contrary, less “aggressive” than the Opportunist, he begins to focus on the other person and interaction with him/her, but there is a quite straightforward way to achieve goals. The Experts also has not a lot of additional focuses of attention: he relies on knowledge, on the authorities and evaluates other people based on his expert experience. And the Achiever already aware of how important it is to engage in a team, to build relationships with others, longer accepts them. And at the Individualist appears new introductory point “about myself”, and it greatly “expanding” the borders of man consciousness, it seems he begin to “feel” himself and others more, he understand how others affect him, so he took care of them. The Strategist sees more and skillfully manages the knowledge and experience to influence the achievement of results.


The complexity of the transition


What was once inspired, no longer inspires. Higher, faster, more – I can more, but do not want to. From a successful man I turn into a gruel. A pile of questions and no answers. What’s going on with me? Can I return everything back? To make it as before – 24 hours “in a rank”, and I am successful.”

The bulk of the customer requests that come to me now looks more or less so.

The client in the transition: from the Achiever to Individualist, which, in turn, is a bridge to the Strategist. As before no longer works, but in a new way he does not know how.

There are a lot such a successful and powerful Achievers in Russia. An entire generation of 27-35 year olds focused on productivity. Even the rest should be with the maximum efficiency. Yes, he is engaged in meditation and yoga, qigong. What for? For maximum effectiveness…

The complexity of this transition:

  • Fear of loss the gained experience (in most cases, the material achievements, social status);
  • Fear to stop, slow down, look around – can be associated even with death;
  • And the frequent lack of resources to change due to total exhaustion.

Areas of work in this transition: the reformulation of criteria for success; search for new meanings; contact with yourself, your desires, needs; contact with other people, interested in the development and satisfaction, attention to your inner sources; interest in other people.


Presentation at IEC 2016

My target is to share with you my experience in helping Russian executives to transit from the action logic of achiever to individualist with a perspective to the strategist.

You will learn:
what contribute and what interferes in the transition from Achiever to Individualist in Russian business context
the most effective practices of transition used in individual coaching and in the group;
• the main cases of our work with Russian executives at Vertical Leadership Development program in Moscow;
• useful practices of vertical development for yourself.


Irina Smirnova is a Coaching consultant of the Moscow branch of St. Petersburg Coaching Institute; facilitator; lecturer at the PwC Academy. “For the past several years I have relied upon the integral approach and the framework of vertical development of leaders, both in my personal growth and in supporting individual clients and teams. At the moment I believe these directions to be the most complete and effective. Main requests that I come across are the requests for development, transition, support of businesspeople and executives in the conditions of uncertainty and turbulence.”

Would you like to know more about this topic? Do you have questions for the presenter? Join the Integral European Conference!

Irina Smirnova: From Achiever to Strategist – Case Examples of Developmental Coaching with Russian executives
Friday 6th of May, 11:30-13:30

Check the program Buy a conference package Buy a customized ticket

Your Cart