Decisive Leadership and Strategic Planning

It takes creative thinking today and new strategy tools to move away from the competitive fray and into a blue ocean of value innovation where the revenue and profits are higher, the markets are unserved and the competition is nowhere in sight.

But what if you are a CEO raring to go with, say the Blue Ocean Strategy tools, ready to see if there is a Blue Ocean out there, or at least to make your bloody red ocean less competitive, and your team seems resistant, either actively or passively, to a move toward a new strategy that might advance the company past its current state of bloody competitive moves? Under those conditions, a CEO might be inclined to give up on innovation, feeling that maybe s/he is just too “out there” for his/her business/industry.

Let’s consider some other possibilities. Perhaps you have a team that is more comfortable being tactical than strategic in their thinking. There is a lot written about thinking like an entrepreneur, but the reality is that not everyone is meant to be an entrepreneur or make decisions like one.

Many times I have team members tell me that they would much prefer if the CEO would just go ahead and make the decision and tell them what they need to do to keep their personal oceans calm. Just because people don’t, won’t or can’t get enthusiastic about a possible new strategic direction, doesn’t mean they oppose it. Maybe they just want their leader to make the heavy decisions and show them how to follow appropriately.

If you have the kind of culture and employees that will literally jump up and down and cheer over a new strategy, that’s great. I have to tell you that, while those companies get in the news and make a splash, most companies have a cultures that are more subdued than that. There is such a thing as quiet support.

So, when you don’t get standing ovations for your new strategy process ideas, maybe its just because you have people who like strong leadership and have less of a need for consensus. Autocratic authoritarian leadership is not popular today. Most people would never say that they prefer following. The reality is that much of our workforce prefers a strong decisive leader that listens to their input, makes the tough decisions and then communicates on a regular basis.

© Corporate Strategy Institute

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Posted by Dr. Sarah Layton in Governance, Growth, Organizational Strategy, Strategic Planning on November 5, 2007.

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