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When everything is urgent, nothing is urgent.
When everything is a priority, nothing is a priority.
Change efforts go by the wayside if there's not enough urgency within the organization
to ensure that it will be given an undivided attention and resources it needs. Moving the strategic priorities into implementation requires consistent and constant pressure from management that understands strategic management.
85% of strategic plans do not get implemented. When the rubber hits the road, the tendency is to focus on the day-t0-day mundane issues, relegating the higher objectives into the backburner. This stop-and-go scenario will delay your progress and unconsciously reward inventing obstacles.
Managers and leaders- stop treating all crisis as equal. You should know how to treat priorities as real priorities, or your employees will not believe another memo with an urgent stamp.
It's not what they hear, it's what they see in action that gets believed.
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In strategy, the conventional wisdom is to start from your current state/situation/position.
This is faulty and utterly difficult. Our status quo thinking and action propels us to look at what's in our current view. We rarely, in matters of management, look beyond, proactively because as Drucker said, we are constantly bogged down by "the tyranny of the mundane."
The leaders' and managers' job is not to solve problems but to look for opportunities. The future while fraught with uncertainty and high level of contradictions also provide a giant opportunity for innovation and applied creativity. Where to look is a good starting question.
We always look at the leading brands and organizations that are killing it even in the worst of times. But, their trajectories and strengths are different. They also have 'failure money' to experiment without risking their mortgages and future pension.
You have to start with your good practice. You have to start with backward thinking and then create the strategies linking the present situation to your desired states. Some call it the zero moment, when the future states are achieved in the present. Before you even reach this stage, you would be already on to your next-level challenge for your organization.
How much of your time these days is devoted to focusing on future prospects and opportunities, and how much time minding the daily business of keeping the lights on?
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The majority of people in organizations will just gladly go along any changes communicated as a positive development in the right direction.
But for some, change is not an easy sell, and more processes need to happen to ensure buy-in for all important stakeholders. As an on-purpose leader, you can take these small steps:
1. Overcommunicate the positive gains and the immediate steps.
The rest of the time, it's the middle phase that's ambiguous but not necessary to be bogged down by it. Keep the focus on the high-level objectives and what they can do right away. Immediate steps take their eyes off worries and fears, and lead them to practical things they can work on.
2. Be clear about the challenges and pains that will be faced
Do not promise the moon and the stars. What is mostly likely to happen in the beginning is that there would be massive amounts of adjustments to be made and then, the 'settling' period which would be the 'in-between' moments for most people. Tell them all the pains that will have to be endured and don't gloss over critical issues for each departments to do.
3. Resist going back and staying in one place in the change continuum
Do not go back romanticizing the past ways or methods of doing things. Resist this water-cooler talks in your office and in your boardroom. The legroom of moving initially is already an achievement in itself. You have come along in this continuum.
But don't rest your laurels in one place. You have to move to the next level-whether is developing and strengthening your talent, building a pipeline of future clients and customers, building a knowledge management system, among others. It could also mean preparing your Board Trustees and executives for a robust leadership role throughout these change period.
4. Celebrate with your key team and learn ways to accelerate
Gravity pulls us down. As much as we'd like to think that all the resisting dragons are slayed. Inertia and entropy, like gravity can bring organizations out of their momentum and elide their impact. Learn ways to accelerate and defy the need to do a lot of consultations which would not add value or wait for the next greenlight from higher-ups.
Be the best believer of this transformation in your organization. When the chips are down, remember, this is a phase, not the end. Resistors are not enemies to be thrown out of the bus. You should appreciate the value they provide and how much worth the journey it is to keep them alongside with you throughout the process.