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
(Note: This article is the second in the series on Anti-Strategy. The entire series can be found here.)
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. Projects 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 an over simplified process, but it is difficult to put in place and even more difficult to keep in place. 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.
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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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