Something that has been on my mind recently is that so many executives are reluctant to have real conversations with their organizations. They prefer a “just go do it” type of interaction.
I have written about this here on the blog as well as in my book MOVE and even gave a TEDx talk about the value of unstructured conversation in successfully driving strategy.
Getting Strategy Done
I have seen so many brilliant strategies die on the vine, because the executives announce them, and then expect that the organization is on board and will self-optimize to do a bunch of new and different things to implement the strategy.
It doesn’t work this way.
People need to be ready
For people to be ready to go, they need time to think and talk and be heard.
The reason that many executives avoid the step of actually talking about the strategy is that it can get messy.
They might hear disagreement, or doubt or dissent.
My my question is, “Wouldn’t you rather know!” Or do you really prefer to go forward assuming all is well when in reality you are heading for a stall or a crash?
The “fight” is a necessary step.
One simple rule of thumb if you want to check if your strategy has any chance of being implemented is to ask yourself, “has there been a fight about it yet?”
No fight. No action
I’m not saying that there needs to be a nasty aggressive battle, but if as the leader, the only feedback you have got on your strategy is head nodding and polite agreement, your team is not ready to execute.
Without the debate, people have not had a chance to get on board, and they will not be prepared to do what it takes to implement your strategy.
The debate not only reveals risks and gaps that you need to know about, it gives people a chance to tune their belief systems, and make the course changes in their own areas necessary to do something new.
Healthy conversation and debate drive forward movement.
Shallow agreement preserves the status quo — and stalls action and change.
If you haven’t watched it yet, see my TEDx talk on this topic.
Also, I offer some very specific, almost scripted, step by step advice about how to get your team talking about moving your strategy forward in my new book MOVE: How Decisive Leaders Execute Strategy Despite Obstacles, Setbacks and Stalls.
Talking or Doing
Getting an organization to do the new stuff you are talking about is really hard. And if you accept shallow agreement instead of healthy debate, there is a very low likelihood that people will move.
Before you say “GO” and expect actual change, ask yourself, “Have we had the fight yet?”
If not, encourage some healthy debate.
Se also Debate vs. GO.
What do you think?
Join the conversation about this on my Facebook page Patty Azzarello Practical Business Advice for Humans.