When Strategic Ambiguity Threatens
Even when you have worked hard to create a clear and compelling business strategy, things can get in the way. Life is complicated and, in the business world, ever-changing. Leaders change roles, technologies evolve, markets shift, and resources can get tapped out. And when the strategy is unclear, a sort of dangerous lethargy can set in.
Unfortunately, strategic ambiguity causes companies to freeze resources, leaders to defer decisions, and employees to fall back on behaviors that may feel safe but are often contrary to achieving strategic priorities or living the desired culture. While these actions are somewhat expected, teams can become unproductive and, in so doing, stall important strategy execution, innovation, and growth.
Four Ways to Combat Strategic Ambiguity
Don’t despair. There are steps to take amid this confusion over the company’s direction – positive steps that will promote productivity and lessen stagnant and misaligned behaviors.
Reach out to former colleagues and peers for advice and counsel, seek out solutions from thought leaders, and consider how your most respected leader might have handled the situation. Draw on the expertise of others to help you stay confident and productive.
Do not wait for others to do it for you and get as much feedback as you can from key stakeholders along the way.
First, try to make sense of what is happening through facts, not rumors. Imagine the worst and then acknowledge that the worst is unlikely to happen. Deal with reality in a way that avoids stress and other nonproductive behaviors. Your team is watching you; be the leader they need.
Move forward, step by step, and let everyone know where you stand and how you think you fit in.
The Bottom Line
Strategic ambiguity can be distressing but it does not have to undermine your confidence or performance. You can successfully handle the challenge by reaching out to experts who have faced and conquered strategic confusion, by maintaining a steady demeanor and by taking well considered action.
To learn more about how to combat strategic ambiguity, download 7 Proven Ways to Stress Test Your Strategy Now
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