You’ve put the ring on your strategy’s finger as a leadership team. But no sooner you’ve walked out the room than a member of the leadership team presses you with an attractive-looking opportunity that brings in a number.
But it doesn’t align.
“Yes, I know we said we’d focus on building our brand on ethical businesses. But this Sharepoint project opportunity at British American Tobacco is huge. And they’ve promised to be carbon neutral in 30 years’ time.”
Many leadership team members, sadly including CEOs, become very commitment-phobic when faced or presented with an opportunity that has nothing to do with their strategic direction.
And that’s regardless of whether it’s about a new client, keeping a team member happy, or bending criteria (for a candidate, project, promotion, …).
A decision is only a decision if you’re going to follow it. Redeciding outside the room, and as usually happens with only a couple of people there rather than the whole leadership team, doesn’t count. It undoes all the work you’ve put into the strategy.
It also undoes the team’s belief that you’re serious about strategy. It begins to look and smell more like a flavour of the month / week / day.
Don’t give me “We’re an entrepreneurial company – our advantage is in reacting quickly”. That’s a commitment-phobe’s cop out. Yes, we do and should take opportunities.
But if that opportunity undermines a strategic decision you’ve made, pause and think if you can *with a truly clear* conscience explain why you’ve done it to the *whole* team (including that member of your team who will look at you with some disappointment that you’ve caved again).
Meaning it has more validity as a decision than whatever process you went through to come up with your strategy.
Meaning that the decision has come out of long term thinking rather than fear of missing out.
Or fear of confrontation.
Or simply fear.
You’ll usually find it doesn’t stack up.
Uncomfortable? Often. But almost always the best and right thing to do.
How's 2022 going? Have you been able to step back and focus on strategy, on purpose, on scale? We're looking for an intimate beta group of CEOs (10 to 40 employees) to join us on this workshop to talk through our Build on Purpose framework for making strategy, purpose and values happen. If that's you, join us.