In a distant village, there was a young couple in love and their parents could not have been prouder. Both families wanted the wedding celebration to be the finest and grandest the village had ever seen, however, both families were poor beyond description.
The families came up with an idea. They would put their meager resources together and bring an exquisite feast to everyone in the village. They asked all the guests to bring a flask of red wine, and everyone agreed. The proud parents assured everyone that they would manage the rest.
The wedding day finally arrived and marital vows were exchanged as the parents and everyone in the village watched. After the ceremony, the bride, groom, and parents stood at the front of the reception line and greeted everyone. Afterwards, each guest moved past the greeting line and poured the contents of their humble clay containers into the huge celebration urn for all to later enjoy.
After greeting the last guest, the proud fathers of the bride and groom took their wine glasses and dipped them together deep into the clay wine urn to toast to the couple’s new future together and to say thank you to all the guests for coming and contributing.
As the two men brought their glasses out of the urn, everyone realized that their glasses were not filled with red wine. Their glasses were clear and filled with water.
The proud moment turned to sadness, and looking out amongst the guests, everyone realized they had played a part in turning a wonderful celebration into a disappointing example of what happens when people do not deliver on their promises.
Each of the guests had thought, “Nobody will notice if my flask is filled with water, as all the others will bring wine.” Yet that was the thinking of all the guests, each believing that if they did not do their part, nobody would notice.
It was a sad and embarrassing moment for everyone; a lesson the village never forgot.
This story is a vivid reminder of what happens when people or functions don’t make relevant and expected contributions to the company strategy.
How many times have you walked out of a strategy meeting, where agreements were made, and yet people were already muttering to one another, “This has no chance of working, no use giving it any effort.”
Ownership is everything to the success of your strategy, and strategic leaders help others see the importance of their contribution to the overall strategy.
Enjoy your August news2use and learn how you can make more meaningful contributions to your company’s strategy.
“Relevant & pragmatic ideas, tools and insights to play at your best.”
Do you get confused and disconnected when reviewing your overall business strategy?
If so, you’re not alone, as only 5% of employees say they understand their company’s strategy.
All too often, strategy is bulging with so many numbers, KPIs, and revenue targets that people don’t understand the story behind the strategy, nor their role, or how their contributions make a difference.
When this happens, people disconnect, strategy becomes ad hoc, and important initiatives don’t deliver expected outcomes.
It’s dangerous to drown people with too many numbers in the strategic conversation. Here’s a good exercise to make this point clear.
Leaders pair up and sit in chairs, with the chairs back-to-back so they can hear each other but not see each other. I’ll give one partner the first page from my Adel, Iowa telephone book and ask them to transfer (by talking) as much info from this sheet to their partner, without their partner seeing the page from the telephone book. I give them two minutes and ask the partner what they can recall. It is not pleasant to watch people try to remember what they have heard from their partner (little or nothing actually). Then I give the other partner a post card and ask them to do a similar exercise, without the other partner seeing the post card.
The results of what people can recall from the post cards, compared to listening to a series of numbers is profound. People can describe pictures in detail; yet struggle with the numbers. The energy levels are remarkably high when people share their picture stories.
Visualizations and picture language are an important part of any strategic narrative. Use post card language in your strategy conversations because it enables everyone to carry the company’s strategic story forward successfully.
Creating powerful strategic conversations is part of the upcoming “Becoming a Strategic Leader” workshop in October. If you or members of your team would like to create more meaningful strategic messages, go here to reserve your spot.
For You & Your Team
Does our team meeting run ok?
Are we keeping busy?
Does our teamwork work?
What’s wrong with these questions? They are closed questions that encourage a yes or no answer. I call these “frosting questions”, like frosting on a cake. These questions make the status quo sweeter (like frosting) but don’t serve as a catalyst for continuous improvement.
Instead, start your questions with these five important words: What / is / the / one / thing…
Here’s how it works, after a team meeting ask, “What’s the one thing we could do at the next meeting to make it more results-oriented or more collaborative?
What’s the one thing our team could stop doing which doesn’t really contribute to any strategic priority?
What’s the one thing we could start doing, as a team that would improve our teamwork?
Use these five words at the beginning of your questions, on just about any subject and watch the sparks of improvement begin to fly.
For You, Your Team & Your Business
Who really owns your company strategy? Is every leadership team member willing and able to present, support and defend the company strategy when the CEO is not available?
In many executive teams, this is a CEO-only role, and it shows a lack of ownership in the executive team. Learn how to create an executive ownershift in this episode of NORENBERG’S NINETY SECONDS.
People, Places & Technology
It’s the two-year anniversary of “Executive Ownershift, Creating Highly Effective Leadership Teams”.
My inspiration to write this book was driven by my belief that leadership teams are everything to the success of your business. It is reassuring to see that I am not a lone believer, as leaders from a wide range of industries are using this book (and the resources provided) to help them create highly effective leadership teams.
If you (or your organization) order 100 copies of Executive Ownership, Creating Highly Effective Leadership Teams, I’ll spend a day with you, your leadership team or another part of your organization that would profit from leadership team excellence.
Contact me via LinkedIn or via my website for details on this limited offer, looking forward to another terrific two years supporting your executive ownershift.
Thought for the Day
“There is nothing so useless
as doing efficiently that which
should not be done at all.”
— Peter Drucker