The word “strategy” is synonymous with the idea of war. With its origins in Greek military terminology, the term conjures up the image of a general devising a battle plan. As StrategyBlocks highlighted in our recent Minutehack article, those who think of corporate strategy or business in this way, as a form of warfare, tend to pursue dead-end strategies. In order to succeed and drive operational success in today’s ever-competitive, tech-driven business world, organizations must change their approach and execute less military-like approaches. Instead they need to employ more of a collaborative culture when carrying out their company’s strategic mission.
Sixty percent of bosses have reported ‘lack of collaboration’ as one of their top leadership challenges, and 97 percent of employees and executives alike believe the lack of alignment within a team impacts the outcome of a task or project. These staggering statistics reinforce the fact that the days where lone leaders would sit down every year to fix their regimented annual plan no longer exist. Today, true strategic success springs from an all-encompassing commitment throughout the entire organization, at every level. The effort will pay off: companies that utilize a strategic plan are 12% more profitable.
Shifting to a collaborative culture where employees are engaged and empowered to contribute actively, in real-time, to strategic goals necessitates cultural change and must be managed carefully.
Here are three key principles to keep front of mind*:
- Communicate your vision: 95 percent of the typical workforce does not understand their company’s strategy– it’s imperative that you ensure your corporate mission statement is known to all employees by making it highly visible and easily accessible. In our new 4.0 StrategyBlocks platform, the very first thing you do when setting strategy is to create a “block” for your company’s vision statement so this is at the top of the “tower” – guiding every cascading block that follows.
- Paint a Picture: Our brains are far more engaged by storytelling than an endless list of facts. Sixty-five percent of people are visual learners, therefore you should present your strategic plan in a visual and holistic way. The word “collaboration” comes from “co-laboring” – think of strategy like an unfolding story rather than a finished book, co-authored by everyone.
- Provide accessibility and transparency– information on resources should be available to all employees so people can make the best and most realistic decisions within their purview. The history of corporate disasters is scattered with examples of companies who have failed to achieve the right balance between resources and strategic goals. Eliminating the guesswork makes an organization more resilient and bridges the gap between strategic vision and operational risk.
Battlefield beliefs limit strategies. With the right collaborative strategy in place, every employee can tap into the key strategic metrics of the company, allowing for smart, tailored adjustments in real-time for optimum performance. Ultimately, this way of thinking will make you, and your firm, more successful.