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People often ask who should develop strategy: managers or members of the board of directors? My advice is always to involve both managers and directors so everyone is on the same wavelength.
I find it interesting that, when managers ask me to facilitate a strategy workshop, and I suggest they also involve the directors, they often resist my advice. They usually say something like: “We want to get our own ideas clear before we involve them.” The unspoken sentiment is: “We don’t want to look stupid in front of the directors until we know where we want to go.”
Likewise, when directors ask me to facilitate a strategy workshop for the Board and I suggest they involve management they often resist. They usually say something like: “Direction is our prerogative, managers only implement.” The unspoken sentiment is: “We don’t want to look stupid in front of the managers until we know where we want to go.”
I’ve found the solution is to run the process as a creative, fun-filled exercise where it is okay to suggest the outrageous and where BIG people are open to new thoughts and prepared to change their minds. In this environment no one looks stupid.
There is no doubt that quality is enhanced if all parties are involved. Each party has a quite different perspective and each is needed. The Board perspective is mainly external. The CEO and top managers perspective is mainly internal. To achieve sufficient quality, the Board, CEO and Tops need to be involved together.
I would prefer to have an 80% strategy that was 100% owned than a 100% strategy with low ownership. To achieve sufficient ownership, the Board, CEO and Tops need to be involved together.
Traditionally a small group of either the Board or managers develop the strategies then impose them on the organisation. Although the time this takes is quite small, the time taken to communicate the strategies and implement them is enormous.
When both the Board, CEO and Tops are involved together there is no communication required (everyone has been involved so there is no need for extensive communication) and the implementation time is shorter (because those who are involved own the strategies).
Virtual Group Business Consultants
free phone: 0800 4 virtual or +644 570 0727 or Skype Bruce.Holland
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Key words: Leadership, leadership development, leadership management, leadership training, leadership program, leadership skills.