VOL. 131 | NO. 153 | Tuesday, August 2, 2016
What Drives Your Organization?
By MICHAEL GRABER
As strategy and innovation consultants, we get called in when organizations are exhausted from trying to grow significantly and not meeting their goals. In most cases, the organization is trying to do too many things without a way to tie them into a coherent meaning.
Most of them need to either discover or rediscover and articulate what we call their Golden Thread, their driving aspiration. This thread can serve as the lead rope that ties all of the company’s initiatives into a single fabric, weaving the vision, purposes, strategy and the more pragmatic elements into a unified whole.
This driving aspiration will rebirth the company into its rightful position as leader in the category that it may have created, the same category that has become commoditized by private label and edged by many other new, unforeseen competitive threats.
Without the rudder of a driving aspiration, that company will attempt to growth for merely the sake of growth – the theory of cancer – and not reach the type of growth that pays off a coherent strategy and compounds the value of the company.
In other words, the growth plan needs a disciplined, strategic rudder and a map to navigate its growth in a dynamic market. For such a growth journey, we first need to proclaim what are doing and where we are going.
To change the culture in a way that will position us for sustained market leadership, we will need to ensure the following steps are performed:
1. Vet a number of driving aspiration models with leadership and management.
2. Solve the right problems and answer the right questions with the chosen driving aspiration.
3. Ensure the driving aspiration is a triple win for consumers, customers and the company.
4. Align all resources, operating systems, management structures and company processes to the driving aspiration.
5. Resolve to sell off, kill or drop all projects and corporate programs that do not ladder up to the driving aspiration.
6. Road test the driving aspiration by running the strategic premise through a model of where to play and how to win.
7. Create an execution playbook based on this strategic tuning fork once the team signs off on a driving aspiration.
8. Agree to filter all new opportunities for growth through both the driving aspiration and the set of priorities in place to make the aspiration a fruitful reality, without exception.
9. Say “no” to anything that does not fit the driving aspiration.
The adage is profoundly true: Strategy is choice. A driving aspiration helps an organization make more informed and refined choices for everything from new hires to new product development, to killing product lines that may be hurting the brand, to how customer service should be approached, to how resources are deployed.
Michael Graber, managing partner of the Southern Growth Studio, can be reached at southerngrowthstudio.com.