Strategy deployment myth

There seems to be a common misconception when it comes to the deployment of strategy in large organisations: “Telling = Understanding = Aligned action.”

If only it was that simple!!!!

The first misconception is that telling = understanding. I had a great example of this earlier this week. I facilitated a large group meeting in which the client insisted on sharing large amounts of content. One of the objectives of the meeting was that the participants would understand the key priorities for the next year. After all the presentations, quite late into the meeting, the group discussed what they thought the key priorities were. They couldn’t agree on what they are, so the CEO stepped in and told them.

The added twist in this experience is that the top three priorities had not been presented in any of the content shared earlier in the meeting. No wonder they weren’t clear!!! However, even when content is presented clearly, it is unlikely that everyone in a meeting will remember it the same way, least of all know how to act upon it.

I think the balance in most corporate strategy deployment is too skewed towards content, and not enough process for people to get under the skin of what it means to them and what they need to implement as a result.