Turning The Why Into How
Just one more week before we wrap up this Leadership Series. I really hope it has helped you step into the first quarter of 2021 with a new sense of purpose.
We’ve talked about the difference between vision (Where are we going?) and mission (Why are we going there?), and how to communicate your vision into a clear vision script.
But there’s still one more key element: STRATEGY. Strategy answers the “How” question –
HOW are we going to get there?
How do you intend to get from here to there? From the present moment to the future vision?
Here are three principles in developing an effective strategy:
1. STAY FOCUSED We’ve talked about this a lot the past couple weeks, but hopefully that underscores the importance of focus. I really believe the number one threat to your strategy is distractions – especially the many “good” options that are not your company’s single goal.
I heard a great example from Southwest Airlines. Their vision was to be “THE low-fare airline” (clear, single focus). At one point, a marketing executive suggested adding chicken caesar salad to some of their longer flights. Ultimately it came down to one question: “Will adding a chicken caesar salad help to make us THE low-fare airline?” If it wasn’t supporting that one goal, it was a non-starter.
- Don’t get distracted. Learn to say NO to what’s not aligned to your vision.
2. COLLABORATE “The best way to lead people into the future is to connect with them deeply in the present.” Practical implementation is a team effort. Listen, create safe space for honest feedback, and bring the people around you on board in the process – those relationships are your greatest asset.
- Don’t keep the vision in your head. SHARE IT.
3. ADAPT Strategies can change, based on how conditions on the ground change.
Obviously, we’ve all had to navigate this in the past year. A global pandemic required major adjustments in strategy. Our word for the year was “pivot” – we’re still committed to our vision, but how we got there had to shift.
- Don’t get stuck. The destination remains the same, but the HOW is flexible.
Take some time this week to review your vision document and how you want to implement it within your organization. It’s never too late to start being more strategic!