Creating Commitment

How do you make sure your strategy will be supported rather than caught up in the messiness of management team dynamics? Many companies have known both rationally and intuitively what to do, but have failed to follow through because of internal politics or ‘messy’ social factors (some of the big and famous ones are Kodak, HP and Digital Equipment Corporation).

Ignoring the mess is tempting, because it is, well, messy. It can be tempting to force things through, or drive disagreements underground by saying “you’re either for us or against us”.  But if you do, you risk traps which will surprise you and arrest progress towards your goals: because if you are not aware of a critical factor (if for example you pride yourself on rational analysis, and think a social factor is ‘soft’), you will stumble over it.

 

What do you need instead?

Imagine if key people:

  • shared resources,
  • discussed disagreements openly so that they could be resolved,
  • acted corporately,
  • marshalled their parts of the organization for the good of the whole,
  • looked reality in the face rather than acting like ostriches until it was too late?

You would then be able to be much more confident that all the effort that went into strategy formulation is actually going to be brought to fruition.

 

Create real commitment to your strategy

For the leader who appreciates that apparent buy-in is easily faked or forced, the Creating Commitment process is designed to help. Typical outcomes:

  • Genuine commitment to a clear strategic direction
  • Clear accountabilities with no wiggle room due to ambiguity
  • An end to lip-service or people running interference.
  • A reduction in risk

An often-neglected process

An adjunct the traditional strategy process, it’s a step often ignored by the analytically-oriented strategy houses. They are often great analysts, but are less  likely to help navigate the interpersonal factors that mean the difference between a good story, or committed action. Strategic Buy-in Building recognises that moving from strategic decision-making to strategic action involves a mixture of rational analysis, gut-feel based on experience, and a lot of messy negotiating if you want something that will be supported by key players once you move to implementation.

 

What does this look like in practice?

A typical project is based around a programme of facilitated meetings supported by 1:1 sessions with key stakeholders to fully understand their perspectives and interests, run over a period of between 45-60 days.

Typically the process will involve:

  • Creating a setting in which you can get beyond entrenched positions, defensiveness, or the need for manoeuvring
  • Understanding the positions of each of the key players and testing how their preferred solutions follow from their view of the world
  • Generating options for accommodation given the players and the validity of the positions
  • Guidance through the process of seeking an acceptable accommodation
  • Committing to action which will bring the accommodation to reality

This is designed to ensure that you balance analytic, intuitive and social factors, so that they work for rather than against each other whenever you are making a strategic decision, and to give the follow-through the best possible opportunity to achieve your goals.

 

Is this for you?

Strategic Buy-in Building is for leaders who need the committed support of a team of strong and independent-minded executives. If this is a situation which applies you you, by all means contact me for a discussion.

 

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