Why isn’t your strategy working?

A friend of mine was misdiagnosed for two painful years. She could describe the symptoms and did so repeatedly to doctor after doctor but they failed to identify the cause. And without a cause you can’t treat an issue effectively.

The same is true with business problems. We may think we know the root cause but we sometimes get it wrong. And when we do, it means we are spending resources trying to fix the wrong thing while still dealing with the problem.

It isn’t an implementation problem

When it comes to business growth, one of the most common mistakes is to believe there is a problem with implementation. It is cited as the #1 cause of missing the mark established in an organization’s strategic plan. But is that really the right diagnosis?

At a recent workshop on GrowthDNA, the framework that helps companies understand and leverage the four DNA strands that drive growth, I was explaining that the biggest issue for most organizations is lack of ConfidenceDNA. ConfidenceDNA comes from market intelligence and without it organizations are unwilling to challenge the status quo or make bold market moves, which are self-limiting behaviors.

A business owner of a construction company said, “I don’t have a Confidence problem. We have tons of market information. We have a Commitment issue in my business. My problem is that my department heads run their functions very well but don’t get on board with the strategy and long-term vision.” CommitmentDNA is another one of the four GrowthDNA strands and it is linked to implementation.

The root cause of the behavior of the department heads is not that they are being obstinate or are not capable of leading change. They demonstrate their skills daily. The problem is that they have confidence in what they know and do, in other words in their own experience, so they excel at doing what they know…which is running their function. They don’t have confidence in the strategy and long-term vision of the company, so they don’t work on it.

How can you build ConfidenceDNA?

To build ConfidenceDNA in enterprise-wide strategy, start with developing a fact-based and aligned view of the market.  That will lead to commitment.  Here’s how:

    • Develop a fact-based business case that identifies opportunities in the market. Data is indisputable and takes bias out of the equation.
    • Focus the analytics on an “outside-in” approach that looks at the company not from an internal or departmental perspective (“inside-out”) but from a customer or competitor perspective. What do they believe we are good at? What could we be better at? What do customers give us permission to do that we are not doing? Growth rarely comes from doing more of the same but usually by seeing a new opportunity.
    • Have all the department managers involved in collecting and analyzing data, as well as, identifying the opportunities it suggests. This creates alignment across all managers and encourages them to work on a common goal.
    • Identify enterprise-wide growth initiatives and figure out how each department contributes to them rather than have separate departmental initiatives. According to a recent client who has made this switch, within 90 days it elevated the level of conversation to things that are much more important, increased collaboration and drove better solutions.

When the managers not only understand, but help create the business case for the new direction, they will have Confidence in it and you will see a significant shift in how they approach their roles and lead their departments. Not only will they be committed to the future direction of the company, they will be able to get their staff on board.

Strong strategic growth requires ConfidenceDNA derived from effective market intelligence. To learn more about GrowthDNA and how it is impacting your business take this quick assessment.

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