2. Your unique compass creates focus
ORGANIZATION DEVELOPMENT: FOCUS
Companies I work for often identify great companies to look up to. The statement “we need to be the new Uber, Spotify, Tesla or Amazon” I have heard as business and innovation consultant so often that it almost feels like a broken record playing in organizations.
The reason why is great: a healthy ambition to be the best in what you do. I admire this, but my only problem with the statement is that you forget who you are: the organization you have built, the values you stand for, the people who have helped you get where you are and capabilities that support your current organization.
By using this statement you create a vision and direction that your organization cannot live up to.
Use your own compass to identify your vision and direction
What you first need to do when determining a vision and direction is look at the values you stand for as an organization and realize what your purpose is.
Are the current values keeping you going in the right direction? Or do you want to recalibrate by opening up and asking people in your organization to describe your current values and where they see potential for growth.
By doing this you create your own unique compass: your identity for doing business. This unique compass brings out the passion for your vision and where you want to be.
Combine values and business drivers in your vision and direction
In addition to these values, bring in your critical business drivers. Assess your financials from historical to future performance, bring in your commercial insights and market development, discuss your existing and future portfolio and determine what is needed for your organization to grow.
By assessing this and combining it with your values, you can prioritize what you really want and need to focus on. Together, this will determine your vision, direction, strategic themes and key focus areas for the next years.
Don’t make it an ivory tower report
Who should be involved? Do not make it an ivory tower report. Try to involve the whole organization in the co-creation. At least invite them to provide ideas as they are your eyes and ears in places you are distanced from.
Set up a small team containing at least the CEO/MD, a financial specialist, a commercial and operational decision maker, and an organization / people expert. Complete the team with a process facilitator to guide the process and challenge where necessary.
Know who you are, as only then can you determine where you want to be
In my role as strategic change and development consultant I am often invited to work together with organizations and leadership teams to discuss how they can further grow their business. I advise in developing their strategy, business model, positioning and unique selling points, their culture and aligned way of working.
In these discussions I always start with an assessment about who they are and what they want to be known for among their customers, partners and the market.
Next, we determine the long-term ambition and we close with a personal commitment from the different MT-members. The content of these discussions is supported by financial, commercial, operational, technological and organizational/people analyses and insights / ideas out of the organization.
Finally, we close with identified key focus areas, priorities and key messages towards the organization.
Why am I involved? It helps to have an unbiased outside party to facilitate and challenge internal thinking, who keeps the process going and loves to help people further grow their business.
Three practical tips to create focus
Live your core values
Is everybody in your organization able to mention at least one of your values? To enable people to really connect with values I often use the Barrett Cultural Values Assessment (which we at InContext offer) or let them experience the values through a tailored learning experience: Align Organizational Values Game.
Create vision and direction
Why is a vision and direction so important? It determines the course and alignment in your organization. It gives purpose to why you do what you do and sets a framework for your organization to work in. It allows your organization/people to take ownership and the freedom to choose how to get there.
Create a shared vision and direction
The biggest mistake in building a vision and direction is not involving your organization. Of course there is a balance to consider, as you cannot include everybody in all steps, as they need to run your business. But find the right moment to have them involved. This will help them embrace the vision and direction much easier when they are implemented.