Strategy: Three Ideas to Unify Your Organization

For five thousand years human kind has been connecting, formally and informally, with others of the species. In the last decade, technologies for connecting have exploded. FaceBook, LinkedIn and Twitter are only the tip of the human connection iceberg. SnapChat, Instagram, Pintrest and thousands of dating sites testify to the human yearning to connect.

Our very survival depends upon our connectedness. That is a big statement! Invoking survival isn’t just for dramatic effect. In all of the animal kingdom the law of natural selection is the law of survival. Survival of the fittest is the observed pattern. Even before man could record stories using pictographs on a cave wall, the history of life on earth is written in the geologic record. And that record testifies that the fittest survive and all others perish.

For the human animal, connections increase fitness and survivability. In the day of the Saber-toothed Tiger, a single hunter became the hunted. But a group of hunters, coordinated in skill and effort, could navigate the threat of death and bring down even the fiercest in the neighborhood.

Though herds, packs and prides all demonstrate the power of strength in numbers, the human animal is distinguished from all the animal kingdom by one additional attribute—reason. Reason adds dimension to the laws of survival for human kind. When inter-connected individuals begin to think and act with common ideals and values they gain even greater power.

When shared values guide common purpose organizations are born and begin to act in a coordinated way. In organizations, each individual performs a specialized role to achieve a vision larger than any single person. Through coordinated action, the combined strength becomes synergistic—the resulting power exceeds the sum of each person’s labor.

Synergistic power is the goal of organizational culture and strategy. Individuals united by shared values, common purpose and coordinated action dominate their competitive space. Organizations lacking in commonality and coordination don’t perform at the same high level.

The good news is that every organization can be disciplined by a well-articulated and orchestrated strategy. Here are three steps that every organization can take.

First, start with where you really want to be. Capture the vision of the position you want to occupy. Write it, poke at it, refine it and write it some more. Talk with everyone in the organization about your vision. Your conversations with others will add to your thought process. Questions, doubts and surging passion from others can influence your vision and your ability to articulate it. Check out our SMARTER™ Goals guide to help you capture your vision.

Second, know where you are. This step is just like that big map at the amusement park, the one marks your current position with a big red dot and the words, “You Are Here”. In order to get to the place you seek you have to know two things. You have to know where you are and where you want to go. You have to understand the relative position of those two points. Use all the organizational facts at your disposal to understand your current position. What do your financial documents tell you? What can you learn from your current marketing activities and conversion ratios? Do your sales statistics clarify the profile of current customers and which products and services your customers want and need?

Armed with information form hypotheses and again talk with everyone in your organization. By the way, these conversations and those from step one can be concurrent. Posit, ask, listen, learn. What are your unique contributions as an organization? What are your skills? About what are you and your people passionate? Where does there appear to be opportunity in the marketplace? This guide might be helpful.

Third, find a way to involve everyone in the conversation. As you identify the position you want to occupy, the position you currently own and the road map to connect the two, building consensus will build performance muscle. If you go through the exercise without involving others you will lack shared vision, values and common purpose. It is your shared vision and your common purpose that provide synergistic lift.

Keep the process simple. The weight of complexity will extinguish the fire of improvement. Know where you want to be. Know where you are. Involve everyone in the process.

Disciplined, coordinated performance on shared vision and common purpose is possible. A strategic plan turns the possibility into a probability.

Learn about tools that Griffin Hill can provide to help you in your improvement quest. Take the Quiz here.


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