325 – Culture Eats Strategy For Breakfast

Closing the gap between strategic planning & execution is a proverbial an enduring problem.

The problem is that we tend to focus on strategy at the expense of getting our culture right.

If our culture is dysfunctional and ineffective, our strategy will never get executed.

The goal is to create a culture of decentralized decision making where we unleash subordinate initiative to address the unexpected & to capitalize on opportunity.

We need to wean ourselves off the idea that more detail, more planning, & more control will deliver results.

Detail is actually the enemy.  More detail doesn’t equate to more clarity,

Instead of detailed plans we need to focus on:

  • Focus on Clarity & Alignment
  • The more Alignment created…the more Autonomy granted
  • Alignment is achieved around what to achieve & why
  • Autonomy is granted around what to do & how

The result is an “intelligent organization” that doesn’t not depend on being led by a “charismatic genius”.

This raises the performance of everyone that allows corrections…even if the plan is flawed.

Strategic Planning & Execution becomes a “distinction without a difference”.

Decide WHAT is really important

  • You can’t create perfect plans…so don’t even try
  • Create & communicate outcomes you want to achieve
  • Formulate a strategy as an “intent” not a “plan”

Get the message across

  • Communicate outcomes; what to achieve & why
  • Leave the “how” up to them
  • Introduce accountability & ownership (back-brief)
  • Decentralized decision making
  • Encourage asking for “forgiveness” instead of “permission”

Give people tools, time, & support

  • Define boundaries & resources; Then get out of the way
  • Non-fatal mistakes are ok
  • Encourage people to adapt actions to meet intent
  • Work outcomes…not the “plan”

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