With COVID-19, executive teams benefit from shared ownership and alignment of their company strategy.
In a turbulent world with constant day-to-day challenges and fire-fighting, many executive teams are challenged to find the kind of collaborative environment they had pre-COVID in face-to-face meetings. At the same time, the need to align C-Suite executives on a common long-term vision and near-term strategies to get there has never been more important than it is now, to accelerate out of the recession.
Few executive teams know how to solve problems together effectively.
I regularly ask leadership teams if they have an agreed-upon process to solve problems together. I have yet to find one that does, yet solving problems is what they do, day in and day out. Imagine how much more efficient they could be if they did have a process that worked, whether they were trying to develop a long-term strategy, or respond to a crisis, like COVID. Usually, the highest-ranking person in the room decides, or the person who speaks loudest decides. Each time the CEO or other exec pushes forward, they may be repelling others who wanted to be heard but were not. That’s a lost opportunity to achieve ownership and alignment from whole the C-Suite team, which results in less engagement during execution and unfortunately, worse results.
Even fewer executive teams have a proven process to develop a strategy.
Most executive teams fail to create a common strategy:
- Some companies delegate the “define strategy” job to staff roles (e.g., a “Corporate Strategy” or “Planning” function). Having run such a function before, I can say they rarely result in full engagement and alignment with the executive team, because to justify their existence, they need to show the management team that they have “the smartest ideas”. Unsurprisingly, that team’s ideas are rarely embraced by the executive team, and are usually met with skepticism.
- Many executive teams try to decide on a mission, vision, and values — and rabbit-hole on terminology or spin-out in debates, and give up.
- Precious few have an agreed-upon process and definition terms (what do “mission”, “vision”, “values”, “strategies” mean in our company?), however usually they either a) don’t have the time to work on strategy, b) don’t know how to align the team, or c) know how to convert blue-sky, long-term ideas to execution in the near term and d) have the ability follow-through with executive commitments and accountability.
The result? No strategy. Low company morale (“Because we have no strategy…”), executive and employee turnover (“we can’t create a strategy if our life depended on it”), misallocated resources (“we don’t have a plan so we’re all running around trying to do everything and end up stretched thin and doing everything poorly”), not to mention lost revenue and market share due to squandered resources. “Yeah, we tried that, we move too fast to have a strategy” is a fantastic way to get entire functions in your company running at cross-purposes.
What if you could collaborate to solve problems effectively, use a proven strategy development process, and can execute that process virtually?
Defining your company strategy is one of many problems an executive team needs to solve, and by giving each executive a say in what is created will result in ownership and alignment by the leaders, which results in improved execution. People tend to support strategies that they created. What if I told you there is a way for your team to co-create a strategy? What if you could even do it during a pandemic safely, virtually, through interactive workshops?
These are being done today by Tennant Consulting clients. Perhaps you’d like to join them!