Before diving in, let’s take a look at a non-business-related situation to set the stage.
You and your significant other sit down to build a plan for your future, but you don’t share your own vision with the other person. This is akin to walking into a marriage counselor’s office—unaccompanied by your spouse—to address areas of tension, hoping the other person magically knows what is being said.
Instead of the counselor asking about the details to uncover behaviors that are creating the tension, the counselor simply asks, “Where do you want your relationship to be in 5 years?” Then, counselor and spouse A proceed to map out how you each need to begin behaving in year one, year two, and so on, leaving spouse B uniformed in the waiting room.
(“DUH!” you may be mumbling under your breath here.)
Here’s the kicker.
Though assumingly unrelated, underlying issues and behaviors that cause pain in relationships can be similarly detrimental for businesses if left unattended in your organization. If your leadership team doesn’t have a holistic perspective on your company—its culture, product life cycles, and opportunities for growth—then your ability to navigate a path forward will be as successful as a one-sided counseling appointment.
There is a better place to start when building a solid business strategy, and it’s not with vision alone.
Yours, Mine, or Theirs—Whose Vision Is It?
Connecting with your leadership team and having the first conversation center around vision alone won’t cut it. Here is what you’ll get—the vision from the perspective of the operations director, the vision from the perspective of the sales director, the vision from the perspective of the finance director (or lack thereof).
Each person stands on his own mountain, espousing his unique vision. This meeting-of-the-minds lacks unified direction as everyone stands on their own mountains, seeing different problems and opposing opportunities. It just won’t work.
At this point, you may be recalling a golden rule of long-ago, “he who has the gold makes the rules”—or in this case, the vision.
A big reason these plans tend to collect dust on a shelf is because he who has the gold—the loudest, most convincing voice—wins the day. The rest of the team politely agrees with the plan, rolling their eyes, waiting to have the private meeting after the meeting.
And here is where the grand visions and plans go to die—dropped along hallway floors and meeting room tables.
You don’t create true alignment this way. Teams can’t succeed consistently, and business won’t flourish.
It’s Our Vision
During the StratOp process we spend half of the planning period just building perspective. Yes, it’s time consuming for what may seem like a smaller piece of the puzzle, but here is where the magic happens.
Once the entire team sees the business from the same perspective—same mountain top, if you will—watch out! Now the planning phase can move at a quicker, more productive pace.
Why? Because everyone is aligned to the same goals and the same opportunities. Team members are in sync, not debating and jockeying for their agendas.
What a beautiful thing to watch! And, most importantly, you and your team walk away with clear direction on what to execute and individual accountabilities defined.
This is how you take a strategy and operationalize it.