I found the graphic to the right in the Harvard Business Review, and to me it speaks volumes about what we’re trying to accomplish here at Results.com.
HBR thinks the image shows how many new “strategic frameworks” people have come up with over the last few decades.
I think it maps the mounting frustration business leaders feel with the whole challenge of making a strategy work.
Why else would they constantly look for something new?
What’s really amazing about business leaders today is that they’re taking a big step back from those frustrations. You know the cliche: the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over -- and expecting a different result.
Enough with “Frameworks”
An effective strategy fits on one page. Writing it should take you through the deepest soul searching of your professional life. And when your soul is in it, you can modify it at will to make sure the tactical elements stay relevant to your market and your goals.
If that one page comes from you -- from your heart, from the core of who you are and why you started your business in the first place, it will never fit into a “framework.”
But it will inspire your people.
If you let it. And that’s what’s really changing today.
Did you know that you’re among the first group of executives to manage four generations in the same workplace? Traditionalists, Boomers, Generation X and Millennials all look to you to give them a way to succeed professionally.
That’s never happened before.
Strategic Planning: A Family Business
You don’t have a “crew” -- you have a family.
And they all influence each other. There’s much less of a “generation gap” now. Traditionalists like the same music as Millennials. And one of the core things about Millennials -- that they collaborate with everyone they know, constantly, every day -- affects all the others.
Either you give them a place to do it, or they’ll use Dropbox, Evernote, Asana, join.me, etc. on their own. And their seniors just jump right in and love it -- everyone’s a digital native now.
So if you want to bring your strategy to life, you have to embrace these people and the way they live their lives.
But there’s more. Corporate culture impacts employee engagement far more than strategy ever will.
Culture isn’t about beanbag chairs or standing desks. Those things can make people more comfortable and thus more productive.
But culture is all about this: How are your employees feeling?
Are they empowered? Do they feel like they get to grow professionally? Do they feel appreciated?
Can they succeed at work?
This matters -- a lot. “Corporate culture” has to have the same heartfelt intensity as your strategy.
In fact, they’re one in the same.
A Living Strategy
Another article in HBR put it this way:
The very best strategic leadership helps the entire organization understand that all of its choices result in the strategy that customers experience...
That got your attention, didn’t it?
Your customers feel your strategy. Your customers will respond to your culture. Your customers will tell other potential customers about both.
Pulls it out of the abstract and puts it right there in your profit/loss statement, doesn’t it?
The proof for all of this just keeps mounting and mounting. And turning to a framework simply will not put you in a place where you can take advantage of it all.
As a fellow entrepreneur, I'm passionate about this. Leaders want to lead. They want to succeed. They want to be around successful people.
And you know what? Your employees want that, too. They also want to succeed. They want to feel successful in their own lives. And they want to be around successful people.
All you need to do is to give them a clear way to make that happen. When they know your strategy, and when they know that when that strategy works, they also get to feel successful, then they make the right choices.
That's what's missing from all those frameworks. No one can live there.
Your family needs a home.
And so do you.