Book: The New How: Creating Business Solutions Through Collaborative Strategy
During my nearly 20 years in business, both as an employee and as a trusted advisor to companies, I’ve seen what you’ve seen: strategies designed to win are commonly announced with fanfare, but they rarely live up to the ambitions and predictions of their advocates.
Sometimes they’re modestly successful, and any gap between reality and expected results is easy enough to explain away as bad luck or poor timing. Other times, particularly for the really bold moves, the outcomes are borderline disasters. Scapegoats are required, blame is apportioned, and one or two executives, often talented, get “reassigned,” or leave the company “to pursue other opportunities.”
Of course, all around us today, too many businesses are unsuccessful in meeting the challenges placed before them. They fail to defend themselves against the competition, miss new markets, do not innovate effectively, can’t reach/retain their customers, and are unable to keep their best people.
Viewed from the outside, these corporate trainwrecks are troubling. Having been on the inside, I can tell you it’s worse than troubling; it’s excruciating. That’s because when you’re part of one of these failing efforts, it is personal: it’s your product that didn’t sell, it’s that new market opportunity you predicted but didn’t seize, it’s your missed results, your effort that was wasted. The executive team often complains that their teams “aren’t executing well.” The rest of the organization grumbles that the execs “just don’t get it.”