Leading From the Boardroom to Boiler Room (Part 1)
Do you aspire to more affectively lead at your company? Get a load of this C.R.A.P. — clarity in thinking, planning, resources and preparation of training.
Ohhh nooo, not more traditional leadership nonsense … blah, blah, blah …
Yep, you are right. Some more C.R.A.P. on leadership. There are four steps in this new acronym and this process will help anyone who aspires to lead more effectively at any level of the company. Sharing some lessons learned in the USMC. First thing’s first. Let’s clarify the difference between a strategic and tactical plan so everyone is on the same page.
Think of a strategic plan as the end state, end of the journey, or the what. We are taking a road trip from New York to California over the summer. A longer view overcoming known and unknown challenges over a longer period.
Tactical plans are shorter term actions that support the strategic plan, such as where to turn right or left, using a GPS unit, getting gas, and determining who is driving and when. Think of tactical plans as the how. Are we clear? Crystal!
Strategic plans are essential at corporate and departmental levels. Leadership is required at both levels. Strategy is about where you want to be to meet goals. If the corporate strategy is growth or market penetration to deliver results, then departmental leaders need to think and plan around those long-term goals.
Will their current team be able to step up? What training or new talent will they need to plan for to support long-term goals? Clarity in thinking, planning, resources and preparation of training is key.
Leadership is not limited to senior management positions. It is not their responsibility alone. Success in business or military missions depend on these factors:
Clarity and practicality of the leaders intended outcome. Let’s call that vision.
Realistic expectation for timetable and skill stacks. Let’s call this tactical execution.
Accountability of a leader and their individual team members. Let’s call this communication.
Processes that support the vision and enable the tactical execution. Let’s call this framework.
Clarity of vision is when your team closes their eyes and can see the future, clearly. It should be visceral and uncomplicated to grasp. It should be practical and supported by why it is important. If we don’t make it to California by early September, we will be trapped at Donner Pass for the winter. We know how that story ended. Editing your vision is the hardest part but the most crucial step. (We’ll cover more on this next month.)
Realistic expectations are primary in recognizing gaps, market realities, leadership styles and needs for organizational growth training. Unrealistic expectations can demoralize and disturb the path for real growth. It can also result in turnover, which we all know can be quite expensive with a limited labor pool.
Accountability starts with senior management. They must be accountable for new directions in addressing the gaps, realities and must support change with patience. The clarity of their vision should invite constructive steps to hold their people accountable once they invest in the tools, training and digital transformations to enable accountability. At a departmental level, leadership must identify weaknesses, coach, train and replace team members who are not on board. Tough task, but necessary.
Processes. A company’s processes will enable or discourage success for strategic, and more importantly, tactical execution of desired outcomes. All businesses are people-based. Engage the entire team in exploring new processes to reach your goals. We utilize process mapping, improved communication skills and active listening to improve company delivery processes. A bit messy but gets teams to better understand how they can work together to better accomplish strategic goals.
Most important post-COVID-19 are digital transformation solutions that can transform your abilities to deliver on more strategic plans in a tactical and practical method. Manual traditional methods of paper and pencil, high dependency on face-to-face communication, team design reviews and the transfer of datapoints were seriously disrupted over the past 18 months.
Add to that fewer people to move that paper process forward and you find yourself being less responsive to customer proposal needs. The final blow is a delayed supply chain for delivering products based on conventional processes. The answer? Streamline decision making and data acquisition.
We will dig in for a deeper dive on the mechanics of making this happen next month. Stay tuned for additional insights from your Sherpa Coach!
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