Why Strategy Is A Conversation, Not A Deliverable
Strategy isn't a one-time deliverable. For strategy to be truly effective, it must be an ongoing conversation. Andrew Blum, CEO of The Trium Group, says many companies fall short in viewing it as a process that has a beginning and an end. Many leaders create a strategy and then want to execute on it. However, in an ever-changing business landscape, scenarios and dynamics constantly evolve. Strategy must also evolve.
In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we share Blum's thoughts on how to ensure everyone in your company is involved in the conversation about strategy.
Leverage the power of "why" and don't over-rotate on "what" and "how." Blum notes that most people live out of a fallacy that a clear path leads to inspired actions, when in reality, it's more accurate to say that inspired actions lead to a clear path. When people are deeply grounded in the "why" of the company as well as their own "why," they will bring creativity, passion and intelligence—and the "what" and "how" will get figured out. The key is having a strong "why" to start with.
Engage people early. Many companies make the mistake of setting unrealistic targets and expecting their employees to deliver with little to no involvement in the plans for doing so. While having a long-range, wildly optimistic vision is inspiring, it can also be daunting and crippling to people who can't see a credible way to get there. When people feel engaged and can see how they personally and explicitly fit into the strategy, they are more invested in the outcome
Encourage everyone to be a strategist. This does not mean that everyone creates a strategic plan, but rather that everyone in your organization is interested in the customer landscape, competitive landscape and issues facing your industry. Regardless of their role, Blum says they should all see themselves as passionate hobbyists who study the business. If you are open to feedback and empower everyone in the organization to make a meaningful impact, there is no limit to what your organization can do. When people are inspired by something that they feel connected to and personally enrolled in, the chance of success is exponentially higher.
Adjust your own way of being. Everyone wants change, but no one wants to do anything different. The main reason strategies fail is that leaders behave inconsistently with their strategic choices, often applying previous behaviors to new strategies. This is a doomed approach. As a leader, it is your job to demonstrate the behaviors you want your employees to follow.
When done right, strategy can be your organization's most important conversation. It will be a reference point in every meeting, and people will begin talking about it as something they understand and are connected to. An effective strategy requires continual questioning, observing, challenging, formulating, adjusting and implementing. Follow the guidance above to create an environment in which strategy is an ongoing dialogue.
Source: Andrew Blum is CEO of The Trium Group, thought leader and management consulting pioneer at the intersection of strategy, leadership and culture.