Last updated: Feb 22, 2023
Explore what a VP of Strategy does, the skills they need to get it done, what they tend to earn, and how they move into this position.
A Vice President (VP) of Strategy is considered a thought leader within a company, being the point person for assessing strategic initiatives at all levels and developing impactful strategies to achieve the company’s goals.
Strategy is a moving beast, meaning successful VPs of Strategy have to be adept at rapid and effective decision making and confident at explaining clearly why they have done so.
Here, The Org explores the role, what it entails, the skills needed for it, what VPs of Strategy earn and common paths to step into the role.
The VP of Strategy is the go-to person for all things strategy at an organization, being charged with strategic leadership and planning. The role requires the VP to always be aware of the company’s strategic positioning and the best ways to get it where it needs to be.
The role requires the development, implementation, leadership and support of all new strategies, and, importantly, the communication of those to all employees.
A big part of the role is reviewing and evaluating market research and analytics, in order to know what the company should pursue for its development. Often VPs of Strategy also play a large role in acquisitions, joint ventures, customer marketing and financial modeling.
The VP of Strategy is in constant collaboration with VPs of other units, making sure there is alignment across key priorities of the company, meaning that the role can have a broadness similar to that of a CEO.
A VP of Strategy has a broad range of responsibilities due to the broad nature of the role. They must be on top of organizing and planning, be able to quickly course-change to suit external and internal factors, communicate clearly about decisions made and foster a sense of confidence from all other teams – and the CEO.
Breaking it down more specifically, they are often responsible for the following:
Strong management and leadership skills are crucial for a VP of Strategy, given that the role requires working over multiple departments to make sure everyone is aligned around the company’s goals. They often lead a research team, as well as working closely with other executives, so need to be able to manage the workflows and communication channels that come with that.
Communication is a key skill needed for the role, as the VP of Strategy is tasked with communicating an organization’s strategy companywide, explaining the ins, outs and whys, as well as securing buy-in from all employees. They can also be tasked with communicating with the company’s board.
Being able to track metrics and use research and analytics are essential to the role, given its focus on future planning. A VP of Strategy has to use research, data and insight to understand target audiences, shape strategic thinking and drive tactical execution of the company’s vision. With this, the VP also needs a creative vision to explore different ways to use the data and reach the company’s goals.
At the core of the job, is the VPs ability to influence the company and its leaders, showing them the route to development and ensuring buy-in; for this, confidence is essential.
The typical education background for a VP of Strategy is a bachelor’s degree, often with majors in business administration, management, economics, or finance.
Although not essential, a number of VPs of Strategy also have master’s degrees, often an MBA, to learn the fundamentals of finance, economics and management.
A number of VPs continue to improve their education and professional development after taking on the role and pursue professional certification, in which they sit an exam that covers core concepts around strategic leadership, strategic thinking, strategic planning, strategic action and strategic management.
To climb to the position of VP of Strategy, an organization will almost definitely require a number of years of experience in research management, operations or other strategic roles. Some may ask for previous VP experience.
Being able to show a track record in leading, developing and executing integrated and successful strategies is a must for VP jobs at more established companies. Typically, an applicant will have led major initiatives or businesses and worn different operating hats before taking on the role.
For example, in a listing for Vice President, Strategy and Operations at Google Research, applicants must have a bachelor's degree or equivalent practical experience; 20 years of experience in research management, product management, engineering, or operations roles, including experience building relationships and leading operational initiatives; experience managing business planning and cadences, and leadership engagement; and experience in stakeholder management.
According to Zippia, the average salary for a VP of Strategy in the U.S. is $174,951 per year, equivalent to an hourly rate of $84.11. Across companies, the salary typically varies from $127,000 to $239,000.
The ORG helps
you hire great
Free to use – try today
4 min read
4 min read
4 min read
4 min read