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In the last two Snippets I showed how 76% of strategies fail during implementation partly because, right from the start managers fail to design strategy processes that allow enough time (and practice) for people to make significant changes to their habits. As a result old behaviours re-establish themselves and quickly most of the focus and energy from a strategy workshop is dissipated.
Managers also fail because they mistakenly belief that strategy is an intellectual activity when actually it's about emotions.
As a result they put about 80% of their effort into logic, positions, costs and features and expect change to result. They fail to realise that people only change voluntarily if they feel safe and have some control over the direction they are going. Emotions, feelings, trust and security are therefore where the 80% should be put. If managers can't design a process that gets under the surface to the unconscious level they will fail. As Wes Brown, a manager I respect greatly and M.D. of Datamail says: It's the last 14 inches from the head to the heart that matters most.
It's got to come off the paper and into every head important to delivering the implementation. And I mean every head. Otherwise it remains theoretical nonsense that belongs to someone else. If it's done properly, you should be able to burn the final document confident that everyone understands what they have to do. This level of understanding is much quicker and easier than you probably believe. Sure it requires people across the organisation becoming involved but there are tricks to doing it that save time and in the process generate enormous amounts of understanding, energy, goodwill and commitment. The most people I have had involved was 6500 people at the Bank of New Zealand.
Another key reason for failure is lack of management attention. In a recent distressing survey it was found that 85% of management teams spend less than one hour a month discussing their strategies. Now I ask you! Strategy by its very definition is a statement of the most important things happening in the organisation and yet managers are simply not talking about them! We need ways to focus managers attention constantly on achieving their strategies.
Helps large organisations be focussed, fast and flexible. Places where people have more meaning, depth and connection.
Expert in Strategy, Structure, Culture and Leadership Development.
One of NZ's most experienced change agents.
Key words: strategy, strategies, business strategy, business strategies, strategy management, strategic management, strategy development, implementation.