We're continuing our article from "The Critical Juncture of Goals and Strategy" where we uncovered we uncovered that while goals and strategy are two sides of the same coin and form the backbone of any successful organizational pursuit, they often fall at a strategy-confidence juncture.
What is a strategy-confidence juncture?
This can be described as the intersection of how strongly we believe in our strategy when the picture isn't just a hypothetical one, and trade-offs need to be made.
Remember our illustration of Financial Institution x who want to grow their market share by tapping into a younger audience and being supremely customer centric but scared they will alienate the bread and butter of generational wealth pull back on making some tough decisions and decide they will both cater to the original demographic and will also try to win the younger one?
Because the tough decisions aren’t being made, the people in the organization find themselves doubling their workload, can’t say no and lose morale. The problem often manifests as a prioritization problem, and fingers are often pointed at individuals (at the worst case) or teams and departments (at the best case). We know that what is really happening, is that we’re just not confident enough in our strategy.
How does this happen?
In essence, what you aim to achieve, and how you plan to get there require conviction that both the objective and method to achieve it are the right thing to do, are attainable, and a must to ensure survival. It is this reason why organizations who under threat of covid in the early weeks pulled together and pulled hard towards for example, making fully digital transactions possible and enabling people to work from anywhere at any time made it work, when previously, those things would have been rife with excuses, stalls and political landmines.
It is easy to blame it all on the leaders, but we don’t believe this to be 100% true. We have often worked with C-suite leaders who have all the conviction in the world for what they are trying to achieve. They are doing outstanding work communicating the plan, the urgency, the direction, the trade-offs – but somewhere down the line, whether at middle management, at a point of dependency or at the point of execution – the conviction stops.
It might stop because of variability in divisional risk appetite, because of goal and reward misalignment (that’s a doozy but is so common and thankfully easy to solve) – it can also stop because of ego and/or threat to safety, or the all-encompassing "Culture" which likely points to a number of these things simultaneously. Organizations are complex because people are complex- but regardless of where it stops, and why, there are ways around this.
How to solve it
It sounds "consultingy” of us to say, but the first course of order is to discover what is happening. Not just what you think is happening, not just the stories we tell ourselves about what is happening but WHAT. REALLY. IS. HAPPENING.
An assessment, interviews or a Gemba walk can all help us unearth some of the real reasons. But just getting the intel doesn’t get us to a solution, we will also have to be willing to do the work and be brave to face the music. In other words, we need conviction that we need to change, just as much as we need conviction in any strategy or goal for it to succeed.
Many times, it is easier for outsiders to come in and create the space for alignment to emerge. Whether we call this a workshop, an executive alignment session, or a problem-solving team event, it can be really valuable for someone outside of the political game to set the stage, ask the right questions, guide gently but confidently to a solution, or a set of action items.
At IncrementOne, this happens to be what we specialize in. We may have been born in Agile, but we grew up in complexity, and we understand people and organizations. As a training, facilitation and consulting company who puts people first but focuses on results, we can build any workshop or create any platform you need to help get your team aligned and performing better together.
Let our superpower make a difference in your organization.
Connect with us today!