Success with Strategy at Every Level!
Updated: Jun 1
Yes, Strategy is everyone’s job. I never heard that when I was studying organizational psychology, not to say that it wasn’t intended, it just was assumed that it was for the top to dictate and the rest to simply carry out. This detachment has teeth that still reaches the lowest levels of employment today. For many, they do not know how their part plays into the larger picture and that is where we can step into change.
Columbia Business School agrees. Greatness lies in getting ordinary people to do extraordinary things and that can’t happen if ordinary people aren’t in the loop of how their efforts matter. So how do we do that?
Get Clear. When we work at an office and do not know how the vision, mission, or values connect with what we do – it is our duty to ask. Get enough information to understand how your efforts directly connect with the mission to reach the vision. Don’t wait for someone to offer this information. The people you ask may not know the information themselves. Don’t get hung up on this and give up. Here’s why. As an emerging leader you need to employ talking about strategy from the very beginning of your career.
I’ve worked with some amazing executives who walk the halls and can connect everyone’s job with how their work supports the overall company goals. To see people’s faces light up with that kind of recognition is what keeps morale high, retention high, and job satisfaction at an all time high. Get used to having these same conversations on your own – at every level.
So how do organizations miss this? Could be that the definitions of strategy are conflicting. Two of the best definitions I’ve come across capture the essence of what makes strategy hard.
Columbia Business School: Strategy is about harnessing insight to make choices on where to compete and how to win the competition for value creation in an organization’s chosen markets.
Roger Martin (Executive Strategy Coach) says it more simply: Strategy is about choices. The choices of what will set the company apart in growing revenue, character, and changing the world.
Get Recognized for the right Strategy. How does that work? When a company chooses a strategy, that strategy needs to be implementable at every level. That’s hard if some autonomy and authority isn’t given to each department head to make sure their department’s strategy has the resources to meet the overall strategy of the organization. When this occurs, any gaps in resources can be identified early enough to reassess if the overall strategy will be successful or need reconsideration. Many an organization has a failed strategy if each department cannot meet the challenge. This may be where each employee’s effort lacks the recognized connection with the organization’s goals.
Get Paid for the right reasons. An organization creates a strategy that sets them apart competitively. It is the mission that connects to their vision.
The values are their guideposts of character they want represented in all they do. When the deliverables behind the mission are not clear, when the strategy isn’t clear all the way down – at each level, with each department getting to be a part of what makes the strategy work, and communicated to each employees job, then the employees cannot recognize how their efforts are connected to the larger goals. That is when the return on investments falter, when employees leave, morale flattens, and competitors swoop in. When it comes to Strategy, Get Clear on how everyone contributes, let employees Get Recognized for how they matter, and attract the right clients to Get Paid.
For more on how to make Strategy work for you, reach out via email and share your experiences with us!