When your involvement stops with the vision and the talking part, your organization can not possibly automatically self optimize to make your strategy happen.
Strategy must have action. Strategy without action is just nice, big-sounding words about things you hope will come true. And action does not happen without executive involvement. Period.
Yet I see so many executives who keep their involvement in strategy at the big, exciting goal level.
A quick recap of those 4 Ways:
- Help the team disengage from current work and thinking
- Work through productive conflict
- Execution requires steady communication from the top
- Execution requires measures and consequences
Dead-on observations. I find that the second one is the most neglected, and it therefore cascades so that there’s not steady communication (because there might be conflict), and measurement and consequences fall to the wayside (because it again falls back on the leaders to have those tough conversations).
The “above it all” approach that the author references has always struck me as curious, perhaps due to growing up in military, para-military, and athletic leadership cultures. If a mission or expedition or game isn’t successful, the leader is always to blame.
Which also means that leaders are invested in the actual results of what they plan. A strong plan with poor execution still amounts to poor execution.
And yet, in the world of Big Business founded on shareholder capitalism, this doesn’t seem to be the case. When the organizations do well, the C-Suite gets compensated. When those organizations don’t do well, “right-sizing” occurs. If the organization does extremely poorly, then the C-Suite might find its way out the door with large severance packages still intact.
We can do better and demand more of our “leaders.” I’m hopeful that we’ll see a positive shift in this with a few new generations rising through the ranks, more global competition creating a demand for better leaders and better people-focused strategies, and having a more informed and conscious class of investors who look for triple-bottom-line metrics.