At Lighthouse NINE we favour simple over complex and nowhere is that truer than in the area of strategy development, communication, and execution. If there is an area of corporate life that has been overcomplicated in the past number of decades it is surely the area of corporate strategy. There are many complex theories and models, each of which likely has value but oftentimes the meaning gets lost in translation and does not lead to meaningful action in the desired direction. Even today strategy remains an elusive concept, failing to propel organizations where they want to go; and yet in a world being disrupted on many fronts, strategy, and execution of that strategy has never been more important.
The legendary, plain-spoken former Chairman of GE, Jack Welch gave what we believe to be perhaps the most useful definition of strategy when he described it as: “pick a general direction and implement like hell”. Its brilliance is its simplicity and clarity. Think “be number 1 or 2 in the world in any market in which we compete”. Not a lot of room for ambiguity or complexity. A general direction that is crystal clear allowing for meaningful, focused, and aligned action to follow.
Focused, aligned action in the desired direction, in turn, creates momentum. Consistent, focused, and aligned actions create momentum and over time that momentum creates what Jim Collins’s described in his seminal book Good to Great as “The Flywheel Effect”. Self-sustaining, positive momentum in the desired direction. The net effect: change takes hold, employees engage in a significant way, improved results follow. Strategy in action is achieved.
So, the real challenge is how to make the complex simple. How to create a compelling line of sight for employees at all levels of your organization to the corporate strategy. It starts with articulating strategy in a clear, consistent, and compelling manner. Making it visual helps even more. At my former organization, we used a GPS based visual graphic to depict how specific, focused, and aligned internal initiatives put us on the path to achieving our strategy. Our strategy simply defined by two interlocking circles, one which said “Grow the Business” and the other which said “Getting Better”. Simple and easy to take consistent, focused, and aligned action against.
We have a group of seasoned executives, consultants and coaches at Lighthouse NINE to help you simplify strategy, to create plans that inspire action in your desired direction while engaging employees to deliver meaningful change and better results. For more information on how we might help go to www.lighthouse9.ca.