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Articulation of Competency: Strategic Mobilizer

Wendi D. Sparling

Azusa Pacific University


Strategic Mobilizer

Strategic thinking and planning is not just for organizations, but for making systemic

changes in thoughts, attitudes, and policies. It creates movements that embrace a new reality. It

begins with a vision. Casting vision for the future requires a leader who is imaginative and

creative. The ability to re-conceptualize reality involve leaders as visionaries. They do not just

imagine the potential; they design the path.

A vision without a plan will be limited to being just that; a vision (Quinn, 1996). A

strategy is the plan. Mobilizers make the plan happen. Strategic mobilizers can envision a

potential future and able to build a network of resources to create a new reality. They recognize

the skills, talents and abilities of others and encourage as them as stakeholders. Strategic

mobilizers follow through with a vision with strategic planning and collaboration until it is time

to reevaluate and do it all over again.

Throughout this program there has been ample opportunity to engage in developing

personal growth plans. The challenge has been in encountering unknown variables that are

counter to articulated agendas. Reactions to those variables have been opportunities to exercise

adaptability. Maintaining positivity and momentum necessary to see a vision to fruition can be

challenge. Adversity that produces perseverance has the capacity to demotivate and limit the

vision. The importance of sharing articulated goals has been instrumental in accountability.

Relationships alleviate the discouragement and disappointment that comes from thwarted plans.

What I have learned is that the logistical concerns can be addressed with the emotional support.

When natural tendency is go alone, experience tells me otherwise.

As visionaries, strategic mobilizers can organize seemingly differentiated thoughts, ideas,

people, financial resources, and structures into formulate them into possibilities. Imagining an

unknown future, the ability to connect past and current events to a possible future is indicative of

an ethical leader committed to achieving a vision. As strategic mobilizers, servant leaders are

known for their intuitive insight (Keith, 2015). Foresight can “do more than prepare us to the

future - it can help us create the future that we desire most,” (Keith, 2015, p. 56).

Delegation and encouraging others to take the lead utilizes differentiated leadership

styles. These can be useful in engaging and empowering others in achieving goals. Path-Goal

Theory is also beneficial in that it “provides a set of general recommendations based on the

characteristics of followers and tasks for how leaders should act in various situations...to improve

follower performance,” (Northouse, 2016, p. 125). Another theory, Situational leadership

approach involves both directive and supportive leader behaviors. Leader directive behaviors,

“help group members accomplish goals by giving directions, establishing goals and methods of

evaluation, setting timelines, defining roles, and showing how the goals are to be achieved,”

(Northouse, 2016, p. 94). In contrast, supportive behaviors, “help group members feel

comfortable about themselves, their coworkers, and the situation,” (Northouse, 2016, p. 94).

Delegating responsibility involves knowing the passions, interests and strengths of the

followers. Leader Member Exchange (LMX) theory provides helpful information in stewarding

those relationships. LMX theory emphasizes the relationships leaders have with their followers.

Relationships are instrumental in accomplishing the vision of a strategic mobilizer. Goals are

accomplished through relationship. “LMX theory works by focusing our attention on the special,

unique relationships that leaders can create with others. When these relationships are of high

quality, the goals of the leader, the followers, and the organization are all achieved,” (Northouse,

2016, p. 145). High quality relationships result in “followers feeling better, accomplishing more,

and helping the organization prosper,” (Northouse, 2016, p. 157).


Casting vision and empowering others to participate the process is important for a

strategic mobilizer. Creating improvisational teams is one such concept that be utilized in

cultivating a creative space for collaboration and innovation. “Members play off one another,

each person’s contribution providing the spark for the next,” (Sawyer, 2017, p. 17). Allowing

space for vision to come to fruition involves innovation and creativity. Sawyer (2017) indicates

in Group Genius, “improvisational collaboration of the entire group translates to moments of

individual creativity into group innovation,” (p. 20).

Implementing strategic mobilizer from a personal perspective involves the successful

completion of Master of Arts in Leadership. Having never been a traditionally excellent student,

I was apprehensive about returning to graduate school. Based on my undergraduate experience,

and returning as an adult learner, I had concerns. Upon acceptance into the program, I made it a

goal to not only complete, but to complete it well. The ability to appropriately manage myself,

time, family obligations and financial resources became evident with the first syllabus. I also

learned that coursework is not completed alone. Group work involved ideological differences of

opinions. Technology required acquiring knowledge from others. Communication and honoring

differing skill sets was a learning process. Not without challenges, my vision for myself is soon

to come to fruition as evidenced in my unofficial transcripts (Figure 1). I set a personal goal and

was undeterred. I now know I can set an ambitious goal for myself and accomplish it.

Strategic mobilizers are not about what is wanted for themselves, but can imagine a better

future for others. Professionally, the department I am involved with is coming to an end. Being

absorbed into others departments has caused reactionary rather than proactive behaviors.

Considering future implications, asking the difficult questions about a new reality can be

difficult. Visions do not always need to be grand, but should be thoughtful. Planning for a new

reality involves other departments as evidenced in recent emails with technology partners (Figure

2). Thoughtful communication and collaboration is critical in the creation of a new

organizational culture with a new future reality. I want to be included in developing processes

utilizing the knowledge and forward thinking to address challenges.

Strategy is considered a strength, but it has been underutilized. This is the competency in

which there is the least professional experience and academic knowledge. Planning involves

strategic thinking. An area of growth would be in gaining more knowledge about systems

planning and strategic management. As a follower, myself, nothing is as frustrating as unclear

vision, directives, and seemingly illogical planning. Opportunity to grow in this area would

beneficial for future endeavors. My plan it to read at least three different books that examine the

concepts of strategic planning. Identified are three books which can be read over the course of

the year. Average is one book every four months. They are identified as followed:

1. Good to Great, Jim Collins.

2. Art of Strategic Leadership, Steven J. Stowell & Stephanie S. Mead.

3. Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done, Larry Bossidy & Ram Charan.

This plan could potentially work in tandem with a mentoring relationship mentioned in a

previous competency plan. Interacting with information in a way that is engaging influences

understanding. The second part of this plan is exploring pertinent information and look for

opportunity in which to utilize this information through a mentoring experience.



Keith, K.M. (2015). The case for servant leadership (2 ed). Westfield, IN: Greenleaf Center for

Servant Leadership.

Northouse, P.G. (2016). Leadership: Theory and practice (7 ed). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Quinn, R. E. (1996). Deep change. Discovering the leader within. San Francisco, CA:


Sawyer, K. (2017). Group genius. The creative power of collaboration. New York, NY: Basic



(Fig. 1. Screenshot from student center showing current grades.)


(Fig. 2. Excerpts from a recent emails.)