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The Four Myths of Strategy
But putting together the strategic planning team is not a matter of finding the perfect group size — it’s about gathering together the right people. You must include both those individuals who have the best sense about where the organization needs to go and those who are going to implement the agreed-upon direction and objectives.
Unfortunately, it is often an elite group of people who are removed from the day-to-day issues of the business who do the strategy development. While the objective view that these individuals provide can be useful, those who are then tasked with the implementation of the strategy frequently respond to it with skepticism, cynicism, outright disbelief and even resentment. Beyond the emotional cost, the lack of listening to input from those closest to the issues can be an expensive proposition.
While some impatient executives might see this broader inclusion as slowing things down, slower in this case is faster — since doing things right from the start saves time and money and prevents having to do everything all over again.
Myth No. 4: Communication Creates Commitment
Town halls, road shows, all-hands meetings and webinars are all popular vehicles for spreading the word and gaining buy-in once the strategic plan has been crafted. Most senior executives will tout these communication efforts as a critical step in helping the organization understand what the strategy means and what role each person plays in bringing it to fruition.
But while these types of events can generate a significant amount of energy and excitement, they also contain serious pitfalls that can lead to cynicism rather than commitment.
One of these pitfalls is the mistaken belief that employees are empty vessels, just waiting for the word from above about where the company is headed and what they should be doing to help it get there.
Far from being empty, people are already full. They’re full of frustrations and disappointments about what executives have said they were going to do in the past and what they actually did. They’re full from promises made and not kept and from accepting requests to get involved in a company strategy and then being ignored when times got tough.
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