Could your leadership team profit from a strategy room intervention?
Quite possibly. Why? Because, as McKinsey & Company states in the book Strategy Beyond the Hockey Stick “strategy is precisely the wrong problem for human brains and the right problem for playing games, especially when the inside company view goes unchecked”. Egos, fear, rivalries, biases, not wanting to disagree, not wanting to propose new ideas that may get shot down, all lead to being risk averse. As Peter Drucker wrote, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast”.
The McKinsey research shows that when the social side of the strategy process kicks in, conversations turn into some form of a beauty pageant. Every C-Suite leader wants to look good to the CEO. Careers, bonuses and future promotions are all on the line in the strategy room. A successful meeting is deemed to be one with little friction and maximum good feelings. The end result is that no one wants to take the chance and present a more realistic plan that might actually work. Proposed business growth strategies end up being mostly optimistic wishful thinking that seldom turn into reality.
Unchallenged inside views lead to delusional optimism in the C-Suite.
The latest research shows that unless leadership teams make big bold moves against their competitors they have little chance of moving up the power curve in their industry and achieving any level of hockey stick growth. Yet, many leadership teams suffer from delusional optimism and continue to do what they’ve mostly always done but expecting different results. This is called insanity.
Bringing an outside view into your strategy room can help refocus and reboot stale thinking and dead end sales and marketing efforts. At Mars Hill Media, CEOs and CMOs tell us they benefit greatly from our dynamic strategy perspective that comes with a jolt of reality–what we like to call a strategy intervention.
Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point.
Do you have a leader who plays the critical role of disagreeable giver?
Adam Grant, Professor of Management at the Wharton School, reveals the kind of person who is the key to making teams succeed. He calls them the “disagreeable giver”. According to Grant, executive level members of your team who tell it like it is, without any concern for your feelings, might get on your nerves a bit–but they’re the most undervalued people in business.
“Disagreeable givers are the people who are willing to give the critical feedback you don’t want to hear–but you need to hear,” Grant says. “They are the people who challenge the status quo and push the organization to make painful but necessary changes. They’re invaluable,” Grant says.
But therein lies the problem. Many leadership teams don’t have a contrarian or disagreeable giver–someone who plays the devil’s advocate. That’s a tragic mistake. As Chief Marketing Strategists, we work with clients by questioning wishful thinking and bringing much needed critical problem solving and strategy to the board room.
In the end the greatest virtue that organizations need is courage.
Courageous leaders tell the truth and say out loud that a bad idea is a bad idea no matter whose idea it is—even if it’s the CEO’s. And if you don’t have people who give their honest feedback then they’re not leaders but followers. And having too many followers will have negative consequences on your business growth.
Political correctness in business is the elevation of sensitivity over truth. And you need truth spoken in your strategy room, so you can execute realistic Big Ideas in order to scale your business against your competitors. Most of the time in business you only get in trouble for telling the truth. When you do, people tend to lose their minds—at LeaderFinders we tell the truth anyway. If you want that kind of honest strategic leadership, we should talk.
If your leadership team needs leaders with courage please contact Tim Finley at email@example.com.
Getting an outside strategy view is vital for greater business growthOutside views help to facilitate a more realistic evaluation of where a company stands in relation to its competitors.
A strategic consulting agency
Minneapolis, MN 55447