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Every organization faces a unique set of challenges and contexts. There are strategic moments in an organization’s journey that have a disproportionate impact on outcomes.
Getting them right creates a multiplier effect on other activities as people learn new ways of working and increase their advocacy for the program of work.
If you want your culture’s defining traits to be inclusivity, empowerment, and collaboration, the strategy process must reflect this desire. Opening up strategy development to participation, away from the typical top-down, closed approach, is a crucial act.
It might involve running “dream sessions” in which employees envision the future of the company or contests designed to encourage participation and co-creation from customers, suppliers, and partners.
If you want to encourage more curiosity as a cultural trait, negotiations should involve sufficient time spent understanding the interests of the parties involved and exploring a range of options for mutual gain.
The messages imparted to recruits in the selection and onboarding process should reflect the strategic priorities (as communicated to the candidates), while the interviewers (and others involved) should demonstrate the desired traits and behaviors.
There are important moments with employees—if they are new to the organization, underperforming, ambitious, or looking for a change in roles—in which it’s vital to discuss and clarify strategic priorities and expectations for performance and behavior.
In crisis situations, be honest about the scale of the problems, transparent about how long it will likely take to recover, clear about the actions you want people to take, and positive about opportunities ahead in line with the strategy.
People remember the words and sentiments of leaders in times of crises far more than in other moments.
A launch is one of the most high-profile actions in the eyes of customers, let alone employees.
It should exemplify the strategic direction of the business and showcase the culture the organization is looking to evolve.
Creating the structures that incentivize performance in line with the strategy requires careful design, consultation, and implementation.
Short-term, individualistic performance measures will rarely enable a strategy founded on collaboration.
Managing to focus on each of the imprintable moments individually should not be that difficult.
Focusing on all of them consistently and coherently is much harder, yet it is critical if you want to embed new organizational norms and behaviors that support the strategic intent.
There are four actions that leaders need to take to help navigate that journey successfully:
Don`t be pushed by your problems. Be led by your dreams.
Business leaders often are tempted to focus on strategy over culture. But the strongest companies take four key actions that deliver the best of both.
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