13 May Your New Daily Mantra: Clarify – Fortify – Unify
By Margaret Wilson & Ann Quinn
As the world emerges from the global pandemic and many people resume their normal activities, organizational leaders are faced with new questions: How do we chart a strategic course for an uncertain future? What strengths did we build during the crisis that will help us to go the distance? How can we engage meaningfully with the employees so critical to our success? These questions are made even more complex against the backdrop of geopolitical concerns and other potential risks to growth.
But at this turning point, it’s really time to change our mindset from merely surviving to a new daily mantra: Clarify – Fortify – Unify. By focusing on the fundamentals of clear strategy, operational excellence and people-centered leadership, organizations can emerge stronger and better equipped to thrive in what we all hope will be prosperous years ahead.
During times of uncertainty, it’s tempting to take a wait and see approach before committing to a course of action. But without a clear plan, you’re not just in a holding pattern – you’re losing ground in a fast-changing terrain. Experience shows that organizations with a clear perspective and proactive approach are much more resilient and responsive than their competitors. And those employees you want to keep and attract? They’re looking for clear purpose and direction, too.
Actions to Clarify Strategy:
- Clearly state your WHY as a starting point for strategy
- Define your value proposition to ensure your offering solves customer problems
- Evolve your business model to support the growth and investment you need
- Identify a timeline and milestones to create a roadmap for your team
If clear strategy gets us moving in the right direction, operational excellence keeps the wheels on and helps defend against threats. It helps organizations deliver their strategic objectives even in challenging times. We may now be in a period of long recovery rather than rapid growth. So, there’s never been a better time to look inward for opportunities to improve quality, increase capacity, reduce inefficiency and otherwise smooth out the bumps in the road.
Steps to Fortify Operations:
- Form multi-disciplinary teams to drive creative thinking and approaches
- Evaluate your systems and processes with an eye to streamlining and reducing inefficiencies
- Highlight expertise, knowledge and capability that sets you apart from competitors
- Create career paths and mentoring opportunities for your team that invests in their development and increases organizational capacity
Central to all of these actions are people. No forward progress or changes for the better can happen without capable people engaged with us in the work. If we didn’t know it before, we know it now: We don’t just need a people strategy – people are the strategy. This is the time to align and intertwine people with every element of business strategy and operations.
Moves to Unify People:
- Shape work to the needs of people and sustainable productivity
- Forego leadership “training” in favor of development in daily routines
- Strengthen the ties and interactions that people have with leaders and each other
- Foster a culture that correlates strongly to strategy, performance and engagement
As a leader, you’ve learned so much over the past two years. You are prepared to take these next steps to continue to push forward. Clarify your strategy. Fortify your operations. Unify your people. These capacity building moves will help prepare you for the things that you can’t anticipate and react quickly to changes ahead.
Ann Quinn and Quinn Strategy Group regularly collaborate with Tandem Partners, developing programs and tools in support of organizational strategy, planning and growth. You can use their latest tool here: Clear Strategy – Cohesive Team