Strategy is a Conversation, Not a Deliverable

user Andrew Blum
calendar

Strategy is a Conversation, Not a Deliverable was originally featured in Forbes.

“Developing a strategy” is fun, but it is also complicated and difficult. In truth, most of us would prefer not to have to think about strategy once a day. It would be better to do it once a year, come up with a plan and get back to the business of business.

Unfortunately, that’s not how it works, because strategy is not a one-time deliverable.

While many companies create strategic plans once every five years, to be truly effective in their execution, strategy must be an ongoing conversation. Where companies fall short is in viewing it as a process that has a beginning and an end. Once they have created a strategy, they want to go and execute it. The challenge is that in a fluid and ever-changing business landscape, scenarios and dynamics are evolving, and so strategy must continue to evolve.

To make sure that everyone in your company is involved in the conversation and actively taking part in supporting it, consider these tips:

1. Leverage the power of “why” and don’t over-rotate on “what” and “how”

Most people live out of a fallacy that a clear path leads to inspired actions, when in reality, it’s more accurate to say that inspired actions leads to a clear path. When people are deeply grounded in the “why” of the company as well as their own “why,” they will bring creativity, passion and intelligence—and the “what” and “how” will get figured out. The key is having a strong “why” to start with.

2. Engage people early

Many companies make the mistake of setting unrealistic targets and expecting their employees to deliver with little to no involvement in the plans for doing so. While having a long-range, wildly optimistic vision is inspiring, it can also be daunting and crippling to people who can’t see a credible way to get there.

Massive change is not an overnight thing; it takes time, dedication, ongoing dialogue and, frankly, baby steps. Setting short-term goals and engaging your people in their creation not only makes the entire process seem more doable but allows for more flexibility in reacting to changing market conditions and keeping the process more fluid. When people feel engaged and can see how they personally and explicitly fit into the strategy, they are more invested in the outcome. On that note …

3. Encourage everyone to be a strategist

This does not mean that everyone creates a strategic plan, but rather that everyone in your organization is interested in the customer landscape, competitive landscape, and issues facing your industry. Regardless of their role, they should all see themselves as passionate hobbyists who study the business. If you are open to feedback and empower everyone in the organization to make a meaningful impact, there is no limit to what your organization can do. When people are inspired by something that they feel connected to and personally enrolled in, the chance of success is exponentially higher.

4. Adjust your own way of being

Everyone wants change, but no one wants to do anything different. The main reason strategies fail is that leaders behave inconsistently with their strategic choices, often applying previous behaviors to new strategies. This is a doomed approach. As a leader, it is your job to demonstrate the behaviors you want your employees to follow. “Because I said so,” while often effective in parenting, is rarely successful in business. Looking within, showing vulnerability, and being willing to change are not leadership weaknesses. On the contrary, they model for employees how to become more clear, conscious and authentic.

Doing all of the above will help you create an environment in which strategy is an ongoing dialogue. It will be a reference point in every meeting, and people will begin talking about it as something they understand and are connected to. An effective strategy requires continual questioning, observing, challenging, formulating, adjusting and implementing. And then doing it all again. Done right, “strategy” can be the most important conversation in your organization.

Ready to deliver on your strategy and produce real results? It all starts with a conversation. 

Back to TriumIQ

Let’s Talk

Contact Us

Trium IQ

The Case for Congruent Leadership

Extraordinary leaders regularly ask one very powerful question, “What am I doing or not doing that is…

Read

3 Ways Leaders Can Make Difficult Conversations Feel Easier

Leaders are expected to act as the guiding lights and role models for everyone else. And every leader, no…

Read

The Gift of ADHD: How My Son Taught Me To Be a Better Leader and Coach

I have a 15-year-old son who is a wonderful, intelligent, sensitive being who, in many ways, is…

Read

How to win in a post-pandemic future

Now that we are turning our collective gaze away from the immediate global crisis, it’s time to…

Read

The Paradox of Leadership

At its core, leadership is about the ability to leverage paradox. There are five polarities that are…

Read

“Maturity begins when one lives for others” – Hermann Hesse

Reflections on my new role as Founder and Chairman of The Trium Group I founded Trium in 1998 inspired…

Read

How to Effectively Leverage Executive Coaching: 3 Steps to Hiring a Coach

I lead the executive coaching practice at The Trium Group, where we serve senior leaders and their…

Read

How to Make Your Post-pandemic Leadership Offsite a Huge Success

With vaccination rates climbing, many companies are now considering how they’ll get their leadership teams working together…

Read

What Good Leaders Do When Replacing Bad Leaders

Those who are replacing poor or controversial leaders have a special challenge. Every leader who fills a…

Read

Catching Up with Reality

One of the great challenges that all human beings face is aligning their behavior with reality. This has…

Read

Focus on Your Other Hand

In the last year, as leaders have been navigating unprecedented levels of uncertainty and anxiety, our clients…

Read

Want to Be a Great Leader? Be a Great Coach

It’s no secret that the Bay Area is one of the highest-priced labor markets in the country,…

Read

How to Build Strategy When “Set it and Forget it” Won’t Work

This piece was written by Doug Randall and originally published on Real Leaders. A global pandemic. Civil…

Read

Your Only Job: Be Kind. Be Present. Be Clear.

As a management consultant, I get asked for advice all the time on a wide range of…

Read

What We Can Learn From Joe Biden About Purpose

Regardless of your political persuasion or orientation, it would be difficult to not admire Joe Biden’s journey….

Read

A Trium POV on The Purpose of Work

Andrew Blum reframes what work is all about and offers a different way of viewing work that…

Watch