In a crisis, everyone tends to focus on the here and now, and I get that. It makes sense to put out the fire in your house before you begin designing a new addition! Perhaps though in your organization, there aren’t any fires, and if that’s the case, congratulations! But if you have been planning on how you will handle a new situation such as a new product rollout, the best place to begin rethinking your organization’s strategy is at 30,000 feet, not on the ground where the fire is raging.
Soaring birds understand this principle of flight. They use the wind beneath their wings to elevate up and pivot quickly. The same holds for organizational strategy. You need to rise above the daily events of the business to rethink what makes sense from an executive elevation.
Let’s say you’re a senior executive charged with sustainability and growth responsibilities. You’ve learned that you can take the exact same strategy and implement it in three different divisions and get three different results. In one division, you’ll get fantastic results. In another, you’ll get not-so-fantastic results. And in a third, you’ll get nothing. What’s the difference? It’s not the strategy; it’s the organization’s preparedness. The organization must be prepared for the strategy.
The same is true when you are preparing a new market launch. It’s why you can take two divisions, compare them side-by-side, and one will immediately understand why the new strategy is being put in place and know how to implement it. The other division won’t understand anything meaningful from the new strategy or implement it. The organization of one division was prepared; the other division wasn’t.
For best results, there are four things you need to do at 30,000 feet:
- You must be willing to challenge yourself and others around you. You can’t change if you are closed to new ideas.
- You have to be calm. You can’t rush a great strategy. If you’re frantic, you’re not going to have a clear mind that is required to think creatively.
- You have to think smarter, not harder. Before you can develop a great strategy, you need to remove the emotion from your thinking and allow new ideas to emerge.
- You need to be a team thinker. Be prepared to ask tough questions, but also be ready to answer tough questions with an open mind for the future.
Your organization has to be prepared for new strategic solutions. If you usually reject new ideas, protect olds ones, have trouble finding time to rethink what you’re doing, and are irritated with people you work with for challenging the status quo, you’re probably not going to implement a new market-wise strategy effectively! You need to think at a high elevation to see the need and create your next great strategy.