This week’s reflection question was: It’s great to have a strategy but the bigger question is, now what? How do we make it come to life?
I noticed I framed this questions differently than previous weeks. Instead of asking “you,” I asked “we.” When setting and executing on strategy, this is a key word. No one has all the information on what is going on in the market, with your customers or how to get people to get stuff done. You need coordinated activities that deliver value in the places you want to.
This all seems obvious, but the smarter, more insightful and more ambitious you are, the more at a disadvantage you may be if you think you have all the answers! Especially today, with so much change and disruption in business, you really need everyone in sync with each other and staying focused on the right goals.
I was struck this week, in dialogue with clients, how often they believe that everyone has the same understanding they do –on what it is the organization is trying to achieve and how their job contributes. Lack of clarity is both, one of the biggest reasons why organizations fail to effectively execute on their strategy, and also one of the biggest levers you can use to get people more aligned.
This requires work. It requires engaging in an ongoing dialogue with your leaders and employees. Notice I say dialogue, not communication. Too often leaders say something – they speak it – and believe it is done or that people have understood. The notion of dialogue is that it is ongoing and entails a back and forth and testing of understanding. It’s a commitment and requires deep listening and presence.
This leads to making sure people buy-in to what they need to be doing and why. All of this is a process – day-to-day – that is required to not only get people on board, but keep them there. Strategy is never a “one and done” situation. It’s a more of, “here we are again – what does this mean, and how do we move forward knowing what we now know?”
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