You Might Be Unstrategic If..

Many people think a good strategy or a strategy process must be complicated. As a result, many organizations either institute highly-complicated strategy processes, or they choose not to institute any at all. Either way, the result is usually not good for the people or for the organization. But how can we know if my organization is in need of a better strategy process?

You might be unstrategic if..

  1. People in your organization are mostly interested in their personal job success or in the success of their department, and not so much in the success of the organization.  Why? Without a shared set of goals, we often tend to fall back on self-interest.
  2. Projects in your organization often go over time and budget. Why? A good strategy process helps people to make smart daily decisions when trying to reach a goal. If those choices are difficult to make, efficiency is difficulty to achieve.
  3. People in your organization do not start projects that are not in their job description. Why? If people are not sure where the organization is trying to go or what it is trying to do, then they are not sure what new things are worth risking. They tend to default to doing whatever their job requires.
  4. People in your organization tend to start lots of new projects that are not in their job description, but have a hard time finishing them.  Why? Different from the previous example, some people’s reaction to lack of direction is to create their own, whether or not it supports the goals of the organization. Most of these projects stall at some point, though, because they don’t get enough support from the organization.
  5. People in your organization don’t trust each other. Why? One of the keys to trust is repeated interactions in a way that lets one person trust that the other shares their goals. If everyone is out to serve their own goals or only those of their own department (see symptom 1), then trust is difficult to build.
  6. People in your organization are generally anxious. Why? Lack of knowledge about a situation and about the future is one of the biggest causes for anxiety. A strategy helps turn that anxiety into a practical to-do list. [1]

Not all of these symptoms are caused exclusively by the lack of a good strategy or a strategy process, of course. But all of them can be helped by one. The really good news is that a great strategy process can be simple, can bring people together, can improve efficiency, and  will make for a better quality of life for employees.

Are there other symptoms that you see in your own organization that you can trace back to this root cause?


[1] quote adapted from a fantastic Tedx talk by the late Tom Music who stated that “..knowledge turns monsters into to-do lists.”

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  1. Pingback: Why Your Org Chart Might Be Distracting from Strategy Execution | SociaLens Blog