The Point: As a leader, you probably believe that your thoughts lead to good strategies which lead to great execution and ensuing results. So we started thinking here at Tip of the Spear Ventures, what happens in those foundational leadership strategy moments where your thoughts aren’t as good as you think they are? Will you be able to clearly share with your stakeholders the vision of where you’re going? Will you be able to achieve optimum desired results? In this post we explore the topic of avoiding epic failure with your leadership strategy and provide 6 tips to do so… Enjoy!
Take a look at last year, and zoom into last month (perhaps even last week!) What went well for you/your stakeholders/your organization from a leadership strategy perspective? When you analyze the key performance indicators (or metrics to manage with), you probably recognize superior results (Greater revenue, optimal efficiency, appropriate expense control structures in place, etc.) Conduct an autopsy of these results and you will inevitably explore the leadership strategy that went into making them happen. Plans were drafted, goals were set, communication efforts conducted, implementation/execution moments occurred, and performance metrics measured.
So if leadership strategy takes place within your organization, just like it does within organizations all over the globe, why then do some strategies work while others fail? After all, it would appear that the business landscape is simply littered with strategies that have failed… and the reasons for epic failure can be just as prolific in quantity!
Avoiding Epic Failure with Leadership Strategy – 6 Tips!
So what exactly causes all of these epic failures in leadership strategy? What follows are 6 tips to consider when developing/executing leadership strategy:
Tip #6 – Market Research
What will the market bear? If there is no problem, there is no need for a solution. In other words, conducting market research into what exactly the problems are, the scope/scale of them will lead to indications (projections?) of approximately how big of a problem there is for you/your stakeholders/your organization to solve. Market research not only helps identify scope/scale of problem, but also the context in which applied solution can be applied.
Tip #5 – Stakeholder Alignment
What if you conduct market research for your leadership strategy, only to have no one fall in line to support the initiative through implementation/execution? Having a strategy in and of itself will not guarantee successful results. Stakeholders not only need to have alignment for the initiative, but need to actually buy-in to the leadership strategy. While not every strategy requires maximum “skin in the game” for stakeholders, there does need to be consensus support for the leadership strategy.
Tip #4 – Accountability
Time and again we see otherwise brilliant leadership strategy achieve epic failure when accountability to results is not maintained. Consider it your #1 priority as a leader! Without holding stakeholder’s feet to the fire there can be no optimum results returned (PERIOD!)
Tip #3 – Beliefs/Opinions
We worked with a leader that would begin just about every conversation with the mantra “I believe…” or “My opinion is…” and the leadership strategy that he attempted to employ more times than not was unsuccessful. Why? He simply held a set of beliefs and opinions that were not shared with those around him (or more to the point realistic). Less beliefs/opinions and more facts would have served him/his stakeholders better.
Tip #2 – EQ over IQ
I’ve been fortunate to serve many a talented leader, where the majority of that talent was in the form of brainpower. However, some of the most intelligent people that I worked with also wouldn’t come out of the rain in a downpour! These same leaders were so out of touch with their emotional intelligence that they simply couldn’t/wouldn’t be able to trust their instincts. If your head tells you to “go” but your gut tells you “no go” you should probably listen to your gut (That is assuming you can hear your gut in the first place!)
Tip #1 – A/B Test + Contingency Plan
Las Vegas is a town filled with successful casinos, not successful gamblers. The reason why the airport here has 10x the quantity of flights compared with most other airports domestically in the USA is that everyone wants to come here to try their luck, and sooner or later they need to go back home. Typically this return home occurs after a loss in the casinos! Leadership strategy should be looked at as a Marketing A/B Test, or at the least with contingency plans in place. No need to put all your eggs in one basket, let’s divide them into two baskets and for goodness sake let’s plan for what might happen along the way!
I love reading/seeing success play itself out firsthand as a result of leadership strategy just as much as the next leader (Even when it comes from one of our competitors!) In my mind, success breeds success. In this post, we explored avoiding epic failure with your leadership strategy as well as 6 tips to assist you in your leadership journey. Once you’ve tried one (or all six out), please take a minute and drop me a line letting me know how you did… I’ll wait to hear from you/your success!