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Lead by strategies

In the last Business Excellence Article (read it here) I wrote about the importance of leading your process or project by a vision. Without a vision you have no control of where people believe that you all together are heading. If you want, which you as a smart leader want, to keep the team together and working towards the same direction, you need a vision.

But you need more than just a vision to succeed. The next step that you need to look close to is your strategies. With a vision you will all heading in the same direction, at least in your mind. But with strategies, you will ensure that you are also sharing the same patterns of behavior that will ultimately lead to the fulfillment of the vision.

A strategy does not control detail of how you are doing things, but it controls the behavioral pattern of the team. Strategies are not laws, rules and regulations. These components are to be followed in detail, while a strategy is there to give you guidance.

Let’s say that you about to go on a trip with you family. You are the leader of this project; the family trip project. As a smart leader, you make up the vision together with your family, where you find words that make you all feel good, like good healthy food, be together, sunny weather, water, boating, and more. To reach a place that can give you all these things that you envisioned you need to start planning your journey. But before you make plans, you need to set your strategies, your behavioral patter. Your strategies could then be that you should travel by train whenever possible, so that you save money and are environmental friendly. You also say that you shall travel by night if possible, so you save money on hotel nights, and that you prefer to spend daytime in interesting cities on the way. And so on.

If you had rules that said that you are only allowed to travel by train, and you need to take a bus, then you are breaking a rule. If you have rule saying that you are not allowed sleeping at a hotel and there are no night trains, you maybe better sleep on a bench instead of breaking the rule.

But as you have the both traveling by train and during nights as strategies, it gives you a flexibility to maneuver whenever you need to. When there are no night trains, you can choose to take in at a hotel or travel on by a night bus. Strategies are there to guide you and your team to do the right thing in order to ensure that you are going to reach your goals.

As an officer I recall all the orders that I have got and that I have written, and they all contains something that can best be translated from Swedish into English as “General decision”. In that part of the order, which was on the top of the paper, the vision and what the unit was going to accomplish in general terms were written. That together with years of training of how to behave in different situations becomes the strategies. The unit will then know in large what to accomplish and how. Even thou everything else in the plan fails, we could always fall back on the general decision and our training, to complete the mission.

A good business is like a automatic piano, where things just happens. People know what to do, how to do it, when to do it, and they can make their own decisions when needed.  My suggestion for this week is to make your self a favor. Make your day easier and let people take the responsibility that they can and want to take. As a leader you just need to make sure that they are a part of the vision and strategies. What are you waiting for? This article ends here, so start to think about both your vision and strategies. And do it TNT – Today, Not Tomorrow!

To you and your business excellence,