How many times is the word “strategy” used in a work day? 10X, 20X, 50X+??
In fact it’s used so often (and frequently incorrectly) that it has become background noise in many workplaces. We’ve been conditioned to focus on strategy. It used to make a lot of sense when the marketplace was relatively static. Now things change in moments. Communication channels are interactive. Responsiveness is essential.
A strategy is predicated on market assumptions. With a constantly evolving marketplace the chances that your assumptions are correct are lessened. How are you going to ensure your strategy is going to get you where you want to go?
It’s time to give tactics a little love. They are (or should be in this environment) equal partners to strategy. Brands are looking to create a memorable experience to break through the clutter and stand out among their competitors. Tactics provide those experiences and can offer a powerful feedback loop to planning. From a business standpoint you can make a good case for this approach.
Take a look at how you’re treating those in your company who provide these services. Traditionally strategic planners have been seen as much more valuable than those who are able to operationalize ideas. It’s time to reevaluate. A good idea unexecuted provides no value to the bottom-line. Are you appropriately rewarding “doers”? More importantly are you demonstrating that all groups within your company provide value, not just a few departments?
Team dysfunction is rampant and it creates a boatload of work for everyone. Doing little things consistently to assure your staff they are valued (assuming they are!) and to demonstrate the culture you desire can go a long way towards changing the dynamic and tone of your team.
Consider this sign that welcomed a new staffer, Marisol, on her first day. She was thrilled, it reinforced her decision to come on board, and staffers knew to seek her out to introduce themselves. And it cost what, $20?
Assign someone on your team to routinize activities for things like welcoming new staffers, celebrating and communicating promotions and departures, and creating holiday celebrations. Make sure there is backup if that person leaves. Regardless of how crazy work gets, try to make at least a cameo appearance at team events to show your buy-in.
Let’s not make work harder than it has to be.
Defending seemingly stupid decisions is one of the thankless tasks of management. It’s a tough position to be in–understanding the reasons behind decisions but being unable to share them. Especially when faced with naïve staffers who assume that communicating decisions is a simple case of “telling the truth.” You can’t share so your character gets called into question.
Many decisions seem stupid because they are bereft of context—sometimes for legal reasons, other times for strategic ones—making decisions seem not only stupid but capricious. Add in a general mistrust of management and it’s easy to see how staffers can become judgmental. Not that it makes it any easier when you’re on the receiving end—especially when you have the best of intentions. These types of misunderstandings happen every day and contribute to corporate suffering.
How can we bridge this gap? Read more ›
Will your company stay competitive in 2014 and beyond? After all, increasing profit margins through efficiency-based techniques–process improvements like Six Sigma, downsizing, and other structural changes—have been done to death. Often at great cost…both literally and figuratively.
Today’s workplace means dealing with uncertainty, urgency, and high stakes situations on a regular basis. No amount of process can solve those problems. It’s time to focus on effectiveness. More specifically leadership accountability for creating and sustaining a great culture.
Over 30 years of research has shown that high trust company cultures provide tangible business benefits. According to the Great Place to Work Institute, companies on the “100 Best Places to Work” lists provide:
• 2X the stock market returns
• 65% less turnover
• 2X better performance
versus the general market. The research is clear. Read more ›
Few question the impact Martin Luther King Jr.’s leadership had on drawing attention to the American civil rights movement. Segregation and discrimination were a way of life for many until enough people challenged the status quo. So it is with corporate suffering. You might take issue with the fact that I’m equating the two. I would argue that the impact of corporate suffering extends far beyond the workplace much like discriminatory policies and behaviors. Read more ›
Now that’s a directive you rarely hear. Yet companies—software giant SAP for one–are recruiting people with autism in order to take advantage of their particular skills. What’s the learning for the rest of us?
Everyone has something to offer.
According to Robert D. Austin and Thorkil Sonne’s blogpost on today’s HBR Blog Network “The Case for Hiring ‘Outlier’ Employees,” SAP understands that “people with autism have an exceptional ability to focus on the repetitive, detailed work of software testing.” It’s not charity; it’s a sound business decision. Read more ›
A long holiday break allows us to regain our perspective. Looking back at all the “crises” and issues that drove me crazy last year has been enlightening. I’ve found that in many cases I created my own misery by not clarifying expectations, not communicating effectively, and letting deadlines slide because “everyone is so busy.” Not only did I do the wrong thing for myself, I did the wrong thing for the business. That’s what is so insidious about corporate suffering—you think you’re doing the right thing but all your good intentions end up exacerbating the situation. Read more ›
We can spend a lot of time, energy, and emotion trying to look good to others. “What will people think?” “What if I fail?” “How will I be judged?” becomes the endless loop we hear in our minds. This line of thinking keeps us incredibly busy but doesn’t make for a very happy existence.
When how you’re perceived by others matters most to you you’re likely to make consistently poor decisions about where to focus, where to invest your time and energy, and who to connect with. If you’re lucky you’ll realize early on that you are not the center of the universe and, in fact, no one really cares about you. This is not to say you don’t have friends and family but at the end of the day no one cares about you nearly as much as you do. This is a very, very good thing.
Why? Because it means that your definition of success is the one that matters. After all only you know what’s truly important to yourself and what will make you happy. When you achieve what matters to you you’ll feel a sense of satisfaction instead of never being satisfied no matter how many promotions, awards, or honors you receive.
It also means that you are free. You can make mistakes, change directions, try again, and create yourself ad infinitum. Since no one is really paying close attention and most have very poor memories, you can learn from your experiences and use them as stepping stones to your ultimate success.
Best of all those voices in your head go away. It’s ultimately not about what others think. Can you live with yourself and the choices you’ve made? If so, you’ve achieved success.