Leadership teams are responsible for creating, implementing and executing the business strategy. Few leadership teams disagree with this, and most believe they are doing their best to be successful. Results show that few actually deliver:
-Only 10% of formulated strategy actually is executed successfully
-Only 5% of employees understand their corporate strategy
-Less than 10% of leaders are confident that they will achieve 80-100% of their strategy’s objectives.
When we look into the situations that support these statistics, we see that leadership teams struggle because they have settled (most of the time unknowingly) for a superficial strategy.
I have never met a leadership team that liked to hear their strategy described this way. Yet when leaders are honest, vulnerable and speak openly about how strategy works (and does not work) in their organization, they often admit that something is missing.
Strategy that does not perform beyond expectations is superficial. It is strategy that is missing the mark. This could be because it is not rationally clear, emotionally engaging, or compelling people to collaborate effectively.
I give leadership teams this language when they express disappointment with their strategy or their strategic results. Stop blaming others in your organization, the lack of resources, the conditions in the marketplace, or your competitors, all familiar scapegoats when strategy does not go as planned. Simply acknowledging that you have a superficial strategy provokes a great deal of reactions, from talented leaders who are used to succeeding at everything they do.
Leadership teams fall short of their strategic ambitions, in many instances, because they settle for strategy authorship, rather than strategic ownership. Just because a leadership team has created strategy (authorship) does not mean they and the organization own it.
If the leadership team does not rationally and emotionally own the strategy, how can anyone else in the organization be expected to own it? The way strategy works or does not work in your organization is directly related to how strategy is created and led by the executive team.
The opposite of a superficial strategy is a senseful strategy. Senseful means purposeful and significant, brimming with sense; and strategy is the framework that allows you to make decisions that support the nature and direction of your business.
A senseful strategy is purposeful, significant and full of sense, enabling you and everyone else in the organization to make choices and take decisions that support the nature and direction of your business.
Therefore, when your strategy is purposeful, significant and full of sense, you invite people to deeply engage themselves and become owners of what they do, because they are clear and connected to why they do it and have the freedom to pursue how they it.
Leadership teams that invest in a senseful strategy create fertile ground for ownership. This is the deepest level of human engagement, beyond feeling responsible or being made accountable for something by somebody.
A senseful strategy enables a culture of ownership in your company. This ownership culture of deeply aligned purpose and engagement is what leads to remarkable results. This is core to the executive ownershift process. Too often leadership teams, disappointed with their results, change their strategy without ever truly owning it. This leads to patterns of mediocre performance that continues unless leadership teams get to the heart of the issue – crafting and leading by example a senseful strategy.
How do you evaluate your strategy performance unless you practice it with the full ownership of your leadership team and organization?
How about your strategy? Is it senseful or superficial? Use the Senseful Strategy Scorecard to see how your strategy measures up: