Tuesday, September 1, 2009

"You Talkin' To Me" Part II

The most common mistake we see is a shift from desired outcomes to problem-solving and trying to re-stimulate momentum or keep morale high. Low morale and momentum are symptoms of a poorly designed organizational structure.

The structure gives rise to behaviour.

Let's move on to execution.

Executing clear strategies is the "fun" part for some of us. Employees do not need to be "sold" on a strategy; they want to be connected to it. Hearing their connection to the strategy comes from listening, not presenting. Each individual broadcasts their commitments loud and clear. But, just like radio waves around you, until you tune-in to their frequency, they're invisible to you.

Using this approach to connecting and engagement, we've seen an executive's jaw drop as they experience a surge of energy from their people like never before. Tapping into intrinsic motivation has a much stronger track-record than artificially "pumping people up" or manipulatively "persuading" them of our viewpoint. After all, you cannot motivate another person. [We'll save that discussion for another time.]

Creating a structure in which the path of least resistance serves individuals highest aspirations and deepest values as they create what is truly important to their organization is "magic" to those unaware of the simplicity of its power. There is no magic. Playing the piano is not magic. Writing a powerful essay is not magic. Effective salesmanship is not magic. Designing and executing a strategy is not magic either.

If your strategy does not create a path of least resistance toward doing what moves you forward, then any attempts to get people to do what is required will have a high rate of failure. Scrutinize your strategy. Put it on trial. If your strategy is a sacred cow, you're in fundamental trouble.

Rather than "selling" each other, why not engage, listen, and connect with reality based on a composite view? After all, the real competition is not internal, it's external.

Ask yourself:

• If an outside person reviewed our strategies, are they so clear and logical that they would support them without question?
• Do we often accuse others of not "getting it?"
• Do we shoot the messenger? [Come on now, fess up!]
• Is there a lot of talk around strategy and little action?
• Do our actions move us forward?
• Do we sometimes charge forward, and then slide back?

All the above are symptoms of a weak strategy.

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