The organization Iâ€™m currently working with is just starting a transformational change. There is literally a ground swell that people across the organization are feeling. Itâ€™s beginning to create anticipation, excitement, and opening up an appetite for more change. The interesting thing is that itâ€™s replacing fear and uncertainty. This is what planning is supposed to be about, creating compelling future direction that transforms your organization and its sense of potential.
Fear is a powerful emotion. It suppresses creativity, energy, creative thinking, possibilities, potential, and constructive interpersonal behaviors. It harnesses the worst in people. Uncertainty canâ€™t always be avoided, but the lack of compelling direction always exacerbates this negative organization free-radical.
Hope and excitement are equally powerful, but in a totally different direction. It literally releases more energy from every individual in the organization and opens up all kinds of potential for what a company can achieve.
Old school management thinking is rooted in fear-based behavior. It assumes that the role of the executive is to boss the organization around, and to have all the answers. New school thinking assumes that every employee is valuable for what is going on upstairs and that by harnessing the collective wisdom of your entire organization, you are much further ahead. Hope and excitement go a lot further in the process of creating a much stronger organization.
If you’re wanting to set the stage for corporate transformation, here are some key ingredients:
#1) Put the mechanisms for strategy management in place
This is the foundation for every organization. Youâ€™d never leave for a trip without deciding where youâ€™re going, or buying a map unless your goal was to kill time. And yet this is what organizations do all the time. Managers canâ€™t be bothered to plan out how the company will position itself for future success because they are too busy with the operations. Relevance slips away and no one even knows he left the room.
Every company needs to know how itâ€™s working to strengthen competitive positioning as well as customer performance. You NEED to know what your value discipline is as well as what your strategy map looks like. Without understanding this combination, youâ€™re crippled from the starting line. Your organization also needs environmental acuity, and systems that allow you to make good decisions.
#2) Engage your employees in dialogue about business challenges and the future of the organization
There is a difference between a smart employee coming to work and putting in a solid day, and the same employee when she or he is truly excited and engaged to help you accomplish your strategy. Employees want to be part of a winning team, to create and to succeed. When you show employees trust by engaging them in conversations on important topics, and integrating their feedback into executive planning, you will elicit trust and engagement.
#3) Build a strategy map so you know what drives your business success, and what the ultimate outcomes your organization exists to create
Once again, a lot of work but worth every second. If the executive team already understands this exactly the same way, you have about an hourâ€™s worth of work on your hands. If they donâ€™t (and they donâ€™t) you have quite a bit more. By getting the executive to agree on what is important and what drives your business, you can then structure your business model and metrics to help you get there.
#4) Make sure that everyone understands how they contribute to the success of the plan and are accountable to follow through
Is the amount of rigor you go through to roll out your business plan consistent with the level of knowledge employees need to be passionate supporters of your strategy? Do you use this as an opportunity to make them passionate about your business? Itâ€™s one of a series of â€œright timesâ€ to do so.
#5) Protect your brand
When you create that clear sense of what your organization is going to be known for, protect it like itâ€™s a diamond. Hire for it, attach variable comp to it, find metrics that speak to it, make people accountable for it.
All of this is critical, because hiring â€œgoodâ€ people, offering â€œgoodâ€ products, having â€œgoodâ€ HR strategies doesnâ€™t create incredible levels of loyalty. If you want to stand out in the crowd, you need strategy-specific alignment from all departments. Without that, very generalized strategy is the best internal resources can do.
Customers donâ€™t refer â€œgoodâ€ suppliers, they refer amazing suppliers.