Anti-Strategy occurs when an organization’s strategy is not clear and functional leaders and individuals make choices in their best interests. Some call this “silo thinking” some call it “self-centered,” but without a clear Corporate Strategy it is impossible for groups to align to what is right for the entire organization! Without a clearly articulated Corporate Strategy, each function works on their priorities seemingly without regard to other department’s needs. Here are some examples of Anti-Strategy:
- A Finance leader puts in place tracking and reporting systems that are onerous and not related to running “your part of the business.”
- Quality is inspected at the end and reported as out-of-spec without working to improve the overall process flow.
- Sales asks production for numerous “Customer Demands” while production hides behind the capacity and cost wall.
- The Service organization is only focused on fixing product, not improving it or planning incremental revenues
- Regional locations are only focused on their P&L
- Sales fights competitive pressures with price rather than developing market place differentiaters
- The C-Suite is only focused on profits and cash flow
- Information systems act more as stand along islands than integrated solutions
Obviously every leader is doing what they perceive as right for their organization. They are all skilled and experienced individuals doing their best to drive their business results. However, without a clear, aligned and cascaded Corporate Strategy, many departmental rights become corporate wrongs. From an organization’s perspective, this silo’ed approach interferes with having a strong and productive culture. An individual’s strength, identity and growth is focused solely within their organization, and thus any cross-functional event begins with misunderstanding and maybe even mistrust. People spin their wheels, meetings are at best dysfunctional, people are disgruntled and leave, turnover is high and productivity is low… In essence, your organization is falling apart. There is a simple process to follow to counter act these failures:
- Begin with a common set of objectives that are based on the strategic needs of the business
- Analyze where you are and where you need to go
- Analyze your strengths, weaknesses and barriers
- Put in place action plans with measures
- Meet often as a team to review your status and hold the team accountable to the results
- CELEBRATE YOUR SUCCESS!
This may appear to be over simplified, but every company needs to follow a common change management framework such as Group50’s Business Hierarchy of Needs® as shown on the right. It provides clarity through the three critical levels of effective strategic execution:
- Data Analysis and Strategic Planning
- Knowledge and Change Management
This methodology is a challenge to put in place and requires significant discipline on the part of leadership to maintain. Anti-Strategy thrives in companies without a plan. Every company needs a plan to align its stakeholders to the key strategic objectives. It also needs organizational processes that are accountable to the plan and capable of keeping its leaders focused. This will prepare your organization for the change that is always coming.
The following articles provide more insight on the impact of Anti-Strategy at the functional level.
- HOW CAN ANTI-STRATEGY KILL YOUR ORGANIZATION? – PART II
- “ANTI-STRATEGY”: A DEATH KNELL TO THE SUPPLY CHAIN – PART III
- THE IMPACT OF ANTI-STRATEGY ON MARKET EFFECTIVENESS – PART IV
- ANTI-STRATEGY – HOW SALES COMPENSATION CAN ACCELERATE IT – PART V
- FROM “ANTI-STRATEGY” TO ACTIONABLE STRATEGY – PART VI
- ANTI-STRATEGY AND INFORMATION GAPS – PART VII
- “ANTI-STRATEGY” AND THE COMMUNICATION CONUNDRUM – PART VIII
- INOCULATING INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY AGAINST ANTI-STRATEGY – PART IX
Feel free to share this link to the Anti-Strategy series with colleagues who might find this of value to them and their organization.
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About the author: Bruce Dougan is the head of Group50’s Organization Design and Development Practice. Bruce and the Group50 team are all former executives with well-known manufacturing and distribution companies who understand what it takes to design, train, develop and motivate organizations to successfully implement a company’s strategic plan.Group50 has designed a series of strategic assessments, workshops and strategic execution tools that eliminate the existence of Anti-Strategy. You can reach us at (909) 949-9083 or send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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