Markets and technologies are in continuous change so organizations need someone at director level to initiate the right changes and ensure they’re completed. A director of strategic change prepares the groundwork for change and keeps the transformation going. They have to see the project through to the finish and manage all stakeholders along the way. Strategic change is high-risk and the strategic initiatives director will need to take full responsibility for that risk. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that from May 2010 the median salary at senior executive level is $165,080 and the top level is $166,400.
In most instances a Director of Strategic Initiatives will work for a large organization that will be a corporation or an NGO. However, Girlhub, a charity organization, specified in its job description for a strategic initiatives director vacancy, that the role requires an entrepreneurial mind-set. Just like an entrepreneur, she’ll have to start projects from scratch and win the trust of stakeholders and partners to invest in them as well as overcoming all obstacles to realize her vision.
It’s very likely that she’ll be managing a cross-functional team that could even be in different countries. Given this, she needs to come up with practices that will integrate these very different individuals into a single team. She’ll have to implement communication systems so one part of the team isn’t operating according to an obsolete program. Additionally, she’ll have to take the work generated by these different groups and give it coherence and direction. She might not have the necessary hands-on management imperative of a project manager but she holds ultimate responsibility, so she’ll need regular status reports.
Whether this is an NGO anti-poverty project or a new technology rollout, she needs to have a background in that field. Entrepreneurs usually have worked extensively in the area they’re building their new enterprise in. This will give them a range of contacts in this field that they can engage for advice and a knowledge of the likely obstacles she'll have to navigate. A core requirement of this role will be the ability to anticipate the problems along the path of any initiative.
The strategic initiative director needs to be a natural leader. Stanford Law School’s job description for this role requires the candidate to direct multiple complex initiatives at the same time. So her leadership skills and strong personality will have to overcome the inevitable problems besetting a range of projects running in parallel. Additionally, she’ll need a strong analytical intelligence for forward planning and superb communication skills to sell her vision to all stakeholders.
2016 Salary Information for Top Executives
Top executives earned a median annual salary of $109,140 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, top executives earned a 25th percentile salary of $70,800, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $165,620, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 2,572,000 people were employed in the U.S. as top executives.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Top Executives -Pay
- Girlhub: Strategic Initiatives Director: job description March 2013
- opportunityknocks.org:Director of Strategic Initiatives & Special Projects, Office of External Relations - Stanford University Law School
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: Top Executives
- Career Trend: Top Executives
Currently working in Dublin, Michael Mageean started out writing for Belfast-based “Fortnight” magazine in 1998. Recently he has written for Verify Recruitment’s technology blog, newsletter and scripted Verify's radio show, "New Job Radio." He trained as a journalist with the London school of Journalism in 2012. He is a graduate of the University of Ulster.