In a recent McKinsey Quarterly survey of 2,207 executives, only 28 percent said that the quality of strategic decisions in their companies was generally good, 60 percent thought that bad decisions were about as frequent as good ones, and the remaining 12 percent thought good decisions were altogether infrequent.
In another independent survey only 33% of senior executives believe that strategy creation is a collective / collaborative effort below their C-Suite layer. Maybe that’s why +53% of staff are unable to explain their companies strategy?
What’s wrong with this picture? There isn’t one.. and that’s the problem!
There is no clearly articulated vision or painted picture that we can follow, aspire to, or leverage when carrying out our daily routines. Imagine more than half of your team not knowing where you’re trying to drive your company, why or how?
How successful do you think you’ll be as an organization?
In this modern age, I’m still baffled every time I find lacking clarity of vision to be the main driver behind failure to execute.
The Power of Vision
To succeed in business it is necessary to make others see things as you see them (John H. Patterson), how else do you expect other to achieve the results you require? Vision gives you the impulse to make the picture your own (Robert Collier), and that’s how you get people to buy-in & go beyond themselves to achieve the results your company needs.
Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare (Japanese proverb) or Vision without action is merely a dream.. Action without vision just passes the time.. Vision with action can change the world! (Joel A. Barker)
Take your pick, but the message is simple, people can’t manage what they can’t measure and they can’t achieve what they can’t see or dream. Leave “vision” to their own interpretation, and yours will never be achieved.
Leadership by Example
Vision is as simple as 1-2-3.. it’s all about telling a story with a beginning, middle & end. What’s the end-game you want to achieve? My good friend Sebastien Tondeur of MCI Group does this amazing well using The BackPocket COO’s painted picture framework. You can find the Painted Picture in the S.M.A.R.T.E.R. Strategies section of this blog. It’s a highly practical & immediately applicable way to get everyone on the same page with your strategic vision.
Process & Workflow
Every activity is part of a process and workflow.. and every activity is directly affected by behavioral additions (preferences). Preferably simple, more complex if absolutely necessary, the critical component is to have documented, communicated & easily accessible processes & workflows for the most relevant aspects of your business.
Managing Workflow, Projects & Priorities is the execution (getting things done) aspect a solid vision. Tell me what you want as an outcome, point me in the right direction, give me the appropriate process & tools to work with, and then sit back and enjoy the experience of my delivering on your communicated vision.
Transparency in Communication
A senior executive once told me that they couldn’t share their company strategy because they were afraid it would fall into the wrong hands. In return, I asked them to use that same logic in trying to understand why their team didn’t trust them as evidenced by a +50 staff turn-over in the last 3 years.
Keeping secrets doesn’t work! You have employees that want to be inspired by a message and then work their buts off to achieve it. You don’t have a circus act full of mind readers who need to look into a crystal ball to understand what it is that you want to achieve.
Talk to your employees on a regular basis, paint them a picture of what you want, use regular pulse checks to fill-in the blanks, and when all is done.. you’ll have a masterpiece that you all put together as a team. Did you ever do “painting by numbers” as a kid? that’s what this is.. give them the vision.. the metrics (numbers) & then let them loose with their crayons.