01 March 2020

Getting the Right People on the Right Page

"No doubt, unity is something to be desired, to be striven for, but it cannot be willed by mere declarations."

--Theodore Bikel 

When was the last time you considered getting everyone on the same imaginary page? Have you ever thought that employing this overworked phrase can do more harm than good?  

That approach and its enforcement often remove much-needed diversity of thought. Too many of the same kinds of people, too close together, limit a group's ability to make difficult decisions.   

Some considerations come with unity. One benefit is consolidating time and energy around common goals--assuming they're the right ones. This is a potentially productive way to use limited resources to achieve the desired results.  

And this concept works best if colleagues are scattered, with some keeping watch on the periphery. Those on edge play a critical role in looking out for the business. In the center, one is less likely to know about changes that are materializing but not yet fully formed.

Image result for image of a blank sheet of paper
The right page?

However, if everyone is huddled on the wrong page, then you run a risk of the page folding. 
(See J. C. Penney)

The leadership agenda

The purpose of this post is to suggest that a leader gains a great deal of momentum at the outset by understanding and communicating what's most important to the enterprise. To accomplish that task, those at the top should begin by coming to terms with what needs to be done, not necessarily what they want to do. For example, the coronavirus may force many to adapt quickly as circumstances change beyond anyone's control.  

Thinking strategically may work best when divided into two parts. First, the leader begins with a sense of purpose and direction, then opens up the process having it informed and owned by the experiences of others.  

To help get there, we created "The Leadership Agenda," a tool that makes people accountable for their ideas and implementation through those around them. 

What does the agenda include?

Here are some suggestions--

o  Core idea. Why this organization?

Desired future. And how to get there.

Priorities. No more than three with a clear #1.

-With a person responsible for each.

Main messages. A stump speech in plain language. 

Critical issues. Three in rank order.  

-With a person responsible for each. 

Operational assessment.  

1. What needs changing or reorienting to support the strategic direction?

2. What has run its course or is not working and needs to be abandoned?

3. What is not working and needs fixing?

4. What are we not doing that needs initiating?

Positive outcomes 

A crowded page tends to be counterproductive as individuals responsible for strategic decisions are unclear about the primary goal. That fuzzy picture increases the possibility of confusion and the danger of going in the wrong direction.  

If execution happens, it's because the right people are on the right page, going in the right direction. (See Microsoft)

Prompts to help our thinking

To receive a free copy of "The Leadership Agenda" template, send a note to:

rbredholt@strategist.com.  Put "Agenda" in the subject line.  

This simple tool requires a quiet mind and a No. 2 pencil to clarify your organization's direction.


© Bredholt & Co.