Is Your Strategy Clear Enough? Probably not…

Separate letters spelling "strategy" are pinned to a bulletin board

How can your organization succeed without a clear and meaningful direction? And yet 49% of executives recently surveyed by Booz & Company said their companies have no list of strategic priorities.

Many high-growth executive teams are moving too quickly to create and clearly articulate a solid corporate strategy.  Some say they don’t have the time; others think their strategy is already clear.  But when you ask employees, organizational ambiguity reigns.  Unfortunately the lack of strategic clarity not only hampers short-term performance but also long-term organizational health.

Effective strategies provide crystal clear reasoning why the company does what it does and how specific actions should lead to superior performance. A rudderless company drifts with the wind.  It does not:

  • outperform its competition over time
  • provide the foundation to create a high performance culture
  • attract, engage, or retain top talent over time.

Based upon high performance research, we know that the overall goals must be simple, meaningful, and just possible.  In other words, it must be an achievable challenge worth fighting for. Then, the strategies to achieve those objectives must include a plan of action and be supported by a well-articulated rationale.  Otherwise, you run the risk of having aspirations without a winning game plan.

A good strategy guides the undertakings of the organization, provides rationales for resource allocation, and sharpens decision-making at every level. A bad strategy creates ambiguity and opens the door to politics, bad choices, and lower performance.

Here are seven warning signs of strategic ambiguity. If you observe any of the following in your organization, it is time to increase your strategic clarity:

  1. Too Many Priorities: Fundamentally, strategy is about making choices and focusing on areas with the greatest leverage. If your strategy contains more than 5 major priorities, trim the list to stop your people from being stretched too thin and reduce the competition for limited resources with conflicting goals.
  2. Shifting Priorities: Priorities that shift frequently based upon reactions to outside or emergent events typically lack a solid direction as guidance. Without a true North, it is easy to fall prey to the urgent instead of the important or the “shiny object” or the loudest voice. While priorities will evolve as you prototype and learn, it is not effective to constantly change the game.
  3. Relationships Rule: When goals are vague, “who you know” can become more important than “what you do.” Ambiguity can play out in power plays, turf battles, and deceptions that hinder progress. Strategic clarity and performance accountability is a great panacea for an overly political culture.
  4. Lack of Accountability: Uncertain strategies provide cover for under- and average performers to hide. Without clear direction, it is difficult to identify and take action against sub-standard performance.  When this occurs, “A” players look for better opportunities where their contributions will be more appreciated and better rewarded.
  5. Lack of Collaboration: If your teams are not effectively and consistently working together, they are probably having trouble distinguishing between priorities and strategic imperatives. Unclear goals and roles are the root cause of most internal clashes.
  1. People Consistently Ask for More Clarifying Information before They Act: Often lower-level employees just do not get it. Successful implementation requires employees to not only clearly understand the company’s business strategy but also how their work directly contributes to that strategy.
  2. Leadership Problems: Many sound strategies fail because leaders fail to provide the direction and sponsorship required for success. Some may be afraid to speak honestly and openly about potential obstacles and concerns.  This can cause people to lose faith not only in the strategy, but in their leaders. To truly lead, executives must listen, guide and reinforce all the way to the finish line.

Creating a strategy is the first step.  Executing it is another step.  To effectively move from creation to implementation, make sure that your strategy is clear, compelling and understood. You will know that you are headed in the right direction in terms of clarity when your strategy:

  • Can be conveyed and understood on one page
  • Guides your leadership team and their direct reports in making day-to-day operating decisions
  • Is clearly understood by all employees – especially how their work directly contributes to success
  • Does not get derailed or steamrolled in times of crisis
  • Is constructively and openly discussed, refined, measured, and evolved
  • Is being implemented consistently across the company
  • Is a source of motivation and focus for your employees

Until then, you have mission critical work to do.  To learn more about creating strategic clarity in your organization or team, please go to: http://lsaglobal.com/what-we-do/#strategic-clarity

 

Comments are closed.

Avon’s success is dependent on strong relationships among our Customers, Representatives, Associates, and outside resources we hire to help us meet our business objectives. We were very pleased with the results from working with LSA Global to design and facilitate a custom program for our events management team. LSA demonstrated responsiveness, flexibility, and an innovative approach to working with us.

Deanna Rudnitsky
Senior Manager, HR Destiny Sales Region

avon-large

We value our relationship with LSA Global. We came to LSA because we wanted to improve overall behavioral based interviewing capabilities of our managers to increase the probability of both hiring top talent and future leaders. LSA designed a highly customized solution for our business and culture. We are currently rolling out this solution to our leaders. I would highly recommend LSA Global as a top quality resource.

Rae Phillips
HR Project Manager - Training & Development, PHR

Polycom-large-gray

We consider LSA Global our outsourced learning and development partner. We worked closely with LSA to customize a management development program to meet our growing business needs. I would highly recommend LSA to any company wanting to deliver quality learning solutions.

Terri Wright-Scheer
Vice President Human Resources

access-large

We have worked with LSA Global for our learning and development needs and have always had great success. They helped us recently with customized Management Workshops that we held for the second time. It was fantastic, and I would highly recommend LSA to anyone that is attempting to get immediate and impactful improvements.

Mary Johnston
HR Manager, BU Radiology Informatics

Philips-large-gray

Working with LSA Global has proven to be extremely valuable and worthwhile. LSA understands our business, has deep expertise in content areas, and tailors the programs to deliver great results. The facilitator was extremely knowledgeable about Working Globally with India and her energy and passion made the session interesting, fun, and enjoyable for all that attended. The participants walked away extremely pleased along with highly useful practices and tools. I would highly recommend LSA Global to any company that has partners or offices in India.

Glenn McGillivray
Human Resources Business Partner

Intuit

I consistently look to LSA Global when I need custom programs put together for my client groups. I can always count on LSA to do a thorough needs analysis and to put together spectacular programs that are well received. Their management development and performance management expertise and professionalism make them one of my top-rated learning and development partners.

Stephanie Webb
HR Program Manager

Rambus

On behalf of Roche and my staff I would like to sincerely thank you for your help with this. The English as a Second Language (ESL) assessment and coaching that you provided for our team was a great success.

Cam Greig
Associate Director

Roche

LSA helped change our entire culture around meetings, making them more effective and efficient, thus enabling us to concentrate on driving more business.

Terry Wassman
VP of Human Resources

cholestech-large

LSA’s approach and ability to bring the best resources to eBay has been a great asset. They really focus on helping us succeed in any way they can and are very flexible in meeting our management and talent needs.

Mike Normant
Learning & Development

ebay

In the Next Generation Management Development courses, I was trained with skills and tools that have made me and my team more productive, motivated, and successful at communicating with other departments.

 

Kevin Ashman
Firmware Engineering Supervisor

IGT-large-gray

LSA’s Employee Engagement Consulting and Survey work has provided critical visibility into: how well our people are holding up under the general economic environment, as well as, the specific challenges that face biotechnology companies in their efforts to discover and develop new medicines; their level of alignment and commitment to XOMA’s Vision and mission critical strategies; how leadership practices and management systems support an environment that engender commitment, and the specific actions that our leaders can take to improve on areas that are important to our people. I highly recommend LSA’s employee engagement solutions.

Chris Wells
Vice President, HR and IT

Logo - Gray - Xoma

LSA Global’s consultant brought a fresh perspective to our behavioral based interviewing strategy for two key executive positions we needed to fill, and their consultant helped us develop questions that produced a much deeper understanding of candidates’ capabilities. I am confident that the two new executives joining our organization have the right skills to add significant value. Throughout the process LSA was also very responsive in dealing with short lead time requests.

Because of the unique nature of our business, Excel is a core application in our accounting organization. After three attempts to find an Excel consultant who is capable of helping our finance team integrate advanced applications into our work processes we found LSA and Alex. He was not only a “Real” Excel expert but was masterful in helping us identify where to use Excel applications in our processes to increase our group’s efficiency.

SPO Partners & Co
Kim Silva, CFO

LSA has been a tremendous asset to my portfolio, both at my current company and my past company. As an HR leader, I am always looking for ways to find external resources that can provide a solution to our management training needs. LSA does that for me. Their solutions are presented in a much more leadership-oriented manner so as to be crisp, business relevant, and easy to apply right back on the job. I will continue to augment our programs using LSA solutions.

Ken Boehm
VP of Human Resources

CVT-large

What a personal and professional pleasure it has been to Partner with LSA. They are truly a strategic partner with Wyse. For more than 5 years, LSA has been engaged in delivering various training and development solutions for Wyse, from custom on-site programs targeting specific core competencies, to working individually with clients to build job skills, and offering invaluable services to me and my team as we continue to build our learning programs. LSA’s representatives do more than sell a product, they offer a full service solution: they understand our business, our strategic initiatives, and the needs of our customers.

Jeff Rangel
Director of HR

Logo - Gray - WYSE

Hyperion has a commitment to lifelong learning. LSA helps us provide the right business sales training, management training programs, and leadership development programs at the right time to meet the needs of both individuals and departments. I especially appreciate their ability to listen to my needs and recommend the appropriate facilitators, solutions and content.

Sarah Parks
Senior Project Manager

Hyperion

Evaluate your Performance

Toolkits

Toolkits

Download key published insights and tools from industry experts highlighting best practices in the areas of talent, strategy and culture.

More

Health Checks

Health Checks

Want to know how you stack up against leading organizations?  Receive a complimentary benchmarking analysis courtesy of an LSA Expert.

More

Whitepapers

Whitepapers

Get up to speed on timely solutions critical to your business. Published by LSA Experts based upon client feedback and key industry trends.

More

Methodology

Methodologies

First we identify the key metrics you want to improve. Then we assemble a dedicated team of elite experts who have successfully solved similar problems with similar clients.

More

icon_expert-blog

Blogs

Stay up to do date with the latest information on how we help high growth companies align their culture and talent with strategy.

More

Case Studies

Client Case Studies

Real world consulting and training approaches from LSA projects, providing insights on how your company can outperform the competition.

More