Just like you can’t separate the message from the messenger you can’t separate content from context when it comes to establishing strategic commitment in your organization. “There are two key dimensions to gaining and perpetuating strategic commitment: content (which most executives understand) and context (which is usually ignored).”
“Content includes two drivers: Validity and Clarity. Validity answers the question “can we be certain that this strategy, at this time, with these assumptions, is the right one for our organization.” And Clarity ensures that everyone understands the content of the strategy. These two drivers, validity and clarity, may satisfy the executive team that strategy is well in hand and that the key issue is now ensuring that everyone in the organization understands it. However, that is seldom the reality.”
“Getting people behind the strategy doesn’t begin and end with perfecting its content. The CEO must also focus on the context of the strategy – people’s decisive beliefs that ultimately determine success or failure. These beliefs fall into four categories:
- Whether leaders and managers are perceived as credible and sincere. Do people believe the leaders and managers will be straight with them about what is really going on?
- Whether leaders and managers are perceived as having the courage and resolve to see the strategy through. Will they be open to hearing the real, often negative feedback, and will they have the guts to deal with the real issues? Will they stay the course in the face of adversity?
- Whether the leaders are perceived as competent in creating and executing the strategy. Do people believe their leaders know what they are doing?
- Whether people believe their leaders and managers truly care about the impact of the initiatives on them. Will the leaders and managers ensure that people see the benefits, are able to contribute and are recognized for that contribution? Will management care about them as human beings or will they view them as mere instruments to achieve their goals?”
The wisdom in this blog entry comes from the book The Power of Strategic Commitment by Leibner, Mader and Weiss. Click here to see Gary’s book report and then go out and buy their book.