Strategy Warning Signs
Are you neglecting worrisome strategy warning signs because you are moving too fast?
Balancing Short- and Long-Term Priorities
Too many leaders become slaves to short-term quarterly targets and neglect to simultaneously focus on the long-term winning strategies. As one client put it: “We go on 13-week death marches wearing blinders. The last week of the quarter is about doing whatever it takes to close deals, ship inventory and hit targets.”
Performance Pressure is Real
Yes, we understand the performance pressure on CEOs, the SVP of Sales and their teams to meet quarterly targets. Shareholders and Board members alike want to see that the short-term goals they put in place are achieved and are showing progress. They see anything else as a failure to meet ever-increasing expectations.
And so the pressure to perform continues to increase quarter-by-quarter. Even when the targets are reached, the celebration is short-lived. After all, the next quarter-end is only 13 weeks away.
Does it Make Sense to Behave Quarterly?
Many leaders seriously question whether this is a smart way to run a company strategically and culturally. Are too many companies and leaders too distracted by short-term pressures? Are well-conceived plans for the company’s long-term health and strategic success being sacrificed at the altar of short-term gains?
The Consequences of Missing the Bigger Picture
We maintain that a strategy that lives only in 13-week intervals can miss the bigger picture. To succeed, organizations need to actually implement their full strategy over time, not just in tactical increments. Based upon our organizational alignment research, we also know that strategic clarity accounts for 31% of the difference between high and low performing organizations.
Leading companies keep their eye on the long-term prize while wisely handling short-term pressures from their stakeholders.
Four Strategy Warning Signs
Here are four strategy warning signs that your leadership has been distracted from focusing on the bigger picture:
How to Change the Conversation
Do any of those strategy warning signs sound familiar to you? If so, it’s time to change the conversation.
The Bottom Line
Short-term metrics have their place. They can help monitor progress, provide feedback and guide decisions, but they should not conflict with long-term cultural health and strategy execution. Remember a triage approach (which is often required during rapid growth) works best when it is aligned with longer-term strategies and plans.
To learn more about the ingredients required to have healthy performance pressure, download Performance Pressure: How Much Should a Leader Push to Get Results
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