A leadership team asked for my impressions of their new strategy. Their strategy document was 90 pages long. Well written, but far too much material for anybody to carry forward.
“Imagine this leadership team has to walk through the desert”, I said. “How much water do you need to take with you?”
“As much water as we can”, someone replied.
“What would happen, if you were trying to pull a two-ton trailer full of water across the desert, with only the people power in this team”, I asked.
“We would never be able to pull a load like that. We would all die in the desert”, another team member replied.
If you want to hold water, you need a container. Strategy is no different. Yet if your container becomes too big, or too complex; people will not be able to wrap their arms, nor their imagination around it.
The leadership team agreed that connecting people to the strategy meant that everyone should be able to carry it, at least their part. Redesigning the “strategic container” helped people throughout the organization understand the whole and carry their part. While business plan reviews require deep back-ups, risk analysis overlays and, at times future scenarios, leadership teams must be conscious about how much strategy they expect people to carry. Certainly, no more that they and their people can carry.
In this September news2use, I’ll share ideas, insights, and tools about creating and leading a senseful (and effective) strategy.
Enjoy your September reading!
“Relevant & pragmatic ideas, tools and insights to play at your best.”
Are you feeling challenged with an upcoming strategy presentation? As you craft your strategy presentation, remember that facts shared with stories are 20 times more likely to be remembered.
Facts tell us what is happening. Stories tell us why it matters.
Create a strategy presentation that matters.
For You & Your Team
Where are the problems in our strategy?
Ask this question at your next strategy review and listen carefully.
If it’s “library quiet” and people are not coming forward with their conflicts, questions, and struggles, you have a problem. Let me say this again, if there is no problem in your strategy, then you have a problem.
A senseful strategy is a stretch, it’s taking you on a journey from today to a new and improved future. The very nature of strategy signifies challenge. If your strategy reviews don’t deal with conflict, struggle, AND problems, it could be that your strategy is too mild, or people are too mild mannered to share what they really experience.
If your problem areas aren’t coming out at the strategy review, here are four questions to help get challenges on the table:
-How aligned are our strategic priorities going forward?
-How clear (and aligned) are we as to what success for these priorities looks like?
-What are our key collaborations needed to fulfill our strategy?
-Which ones are working well and do we have action plans in place for those that are not working well?
Don’t settle for mild. Go for respectful, yet robust strategy reviews.
For You, Your Team & Your Business
The 2021 Executive Development Trends Research Report is now available. The study is based on the direct input of 1030 medium and large organizations as well as the insights and analysis of executive development experts. Need-to-know insights from this study include:
While 86% of those surveyed see leadership team development as very important, only 17% of those responding see their leadership teams as highly effective, and ONLY 3% say that their leadership teams have a process for continuous improvement in place for their teams.
What is the most strategic learning investment your organization can make?
In my eyes, it is an investment that helps leadership teams develop a process for continuous improvement. When your leadership teams improve, so does your business.
If you would like the full version of this Trends Report (normally $150) drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org for a complimentary copy.
People, Places & Technology
Are you interested in becoming a more strategic leader? Would you benefit from sparring with a strategic partner or executive coach? Consider participating in my leadership growth lab or contact me about the upcoming Strategic Leader Accelerator Workshop in November. I look forward to hearing from you.
Thought for the Day
“If you’re competitor-focused,
you have to wait until there
is a competitor doing something.
allows you to be more pioneering.”
— Jeff Bezos, Founder of Amazon