August 19 2010 - Have you seen the effects of success blindness?
It is a condition where success can be your greatest impediment to growth
and succeeding in the future. Success hides many ills. It masks
fundamental weaknesses in the business. And can lead to poor decisions -
decisions that could end up fatal to your business. We've all heard the
adage - they're throwing money at the problem. Well, today money is scarce
for many. And simply stated many businesses literally can no longer afford
to throw money at the problem to fix it.
We need a better approach, and it starts with creating a sound strategic
vision as we work our way out of this recession. While your leadership
team works on creating a *new* strategic vision, be careful to avoid these
3 mistakes that most organizations unknowingly make...
3 Top Mistakes Business Leaders Make While Creating Their New Strategic
Vision and Direction
1. Failing to look at the organization's current strategic vision for
relevance and how the market has changed. Before you even start thinking
about creating a new vision for your organization, you need to think about
these two things...
- Is your past/current strategic vision still relevant in today's economy?
- Has your market changed: for the better or for worse?
If you were selling subprime mortgages or providing goods and services to
the real estate market then your market has changed for the worse. If on
the other hand, you are selling goods or services to Apple, Walmart or
Target, then you are likely doing reasonably well.
Strategy is multi-dimensional and what was successful in the past may not
be successful in the future. Context and situation require change, at the
very least, re-evaluation and validation. Without a current, sound
strategic vision there is no direction for your company and forward
momentum will become unlikely. Defining a strategic vision is the starting
point as business growth resumes.
2. Failing to ask eight fundamental "business health check" questions. You
see, far too often, small to medium size businesses fail to take an
objective and dispassionate view of their operations when planning for
their future. In many cases, they focus on only one component of the
business, such as sales. How does this help you determine how to best
position your organization for the future? You must ask these 8
- What's working now and how do you know?
- What's not working and how do you know?
- What do you want to achieve?
- What do you need to avoid?
- What do you need to eliminate ("stop doing")?
- What do you need to safeguard/preserve?
- What could you be doing to better prepare if an ongoing recession, and
for the eminent rebound? (What else could you do to prepare for worse/best
- Then, what are your next best steps to sustain you now and position you
for the rebound?
It is critical to ask (and listen to your team's responses to) these
questions when creating your new strategic vision.
And lastly, mistake #3 which is highly interdependent with #2, and most
critical to execution- that is, operationalizing your vision to results:
3.Failing to *align* your leadership team with the new strategic vision
of where you are headed. If only you or a few of the executives address
the questions above in framing out and defining your strategic direction,
it results in a gap - a lack of knowing by the very staff that will be
making it happen (AKA: EXECUTING). Not knowing organizational priorities
results in disarray due to individual agendas and priorities. (Think of
individual employees as arrows pointing in different directions, verses
focus and energies in a clear and common direction.)
For example, one of our leadership consulting clients was running a
successful research business in the medical industry with a strong client
base. The work product was good, as were sales. And for the most part
clients were satisfied. What wasn't working well was the leadership team.
Why? Talented researchers were promoted to leadership positions with
little (or no) management experience. This created a "learning curve" both
for the newly promoted manager (learning how to be a manager) and their
employees (learning how to cope with the new manager's learning how to be
a manager). The new managers that were thrown into a leadership role
brought their baggage with them. That is the politics, behaviors and
opinions they had as subordinates. No time was spent working to align the
leadership team with the organizational vision and to align the team with
itself. As a result, frustration grew - in both the new managers and the
employees - and employee turnover became high. In a short time, clients
felt the impact.
Lack of a commonly understood strategic direction leads to misaligned
efforts and frankly poor decisions - and this can end up fatal to your
The recession has changed many businesses forever. What were opportune and
successful strategies in the past will no longer work for many
organizations. And believing you will soon return to business as usual is
Through addressing these 3 mistakes, you can re-surface from the recession
by taking an intentional, dispassionate look at your current market
situation, asking the tough questions, and defining a strategic vision
that is desired and doable by you and your staff.
Sara LaForest and Tony Kubica have more than 50+ years of combined
experience in helping organizations create a sound strategic vision that
improves business performance. Failing to create a vision for your
organization is just one way to sabotage your business. To uncover more
common, subtle ways you are harming your performance, get their free
report now at: .