Strategy Execution Sets the Tempo: Gearing up for Organizational Change | Paradigm Learning

Strategy Execution Sets the Tempo: Gearing up for Organizational Change

Posted by Paradigm Learning on July 21, 2016

In professional cycling, it's well known that the leader wears a yellow jersey. Less understood is the idea that much of the credit should deservedly go to the team members supporting the front rider. Race strategy often changes on the fly, requiring those suited up in common colors to align themselves in specific ways to generate greater speed and better course position. That they do it under intense pressure against those who ride aggressively, merge unexpectedly or form sporadic tactical alliances only makes their efforts more remarkable.

“Track right! Watch your line.”

At every stage in an event, top competitors know what to look for and what to look out for. In many ways, their mindset is not unlike what a change management leader must have in place before escorting his or her organization through a new initiative. What makes the difference is leveraging individual thought to drive behavior; and, in turn, results from wire-to-wire. Do that and you’ll go a long way to lining up your people for success; don’t and it’s likely you’ll just spin their wheels.

That’s a “shimmy” in operations that’s hard to shake.

Simply put, we see the answer in terms of employee alignment solutions. American businessman and writer Max De Pree saw it the same way: “The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say ‘thank you.’ In between the two, the leader must become a servant and debtor.”

That’s “the zone” you want to find. Here are four things that will help you draw the boundaries:

  • All aboard the “autobus.” In cycling, the term refers to a group of riders who work together to finish a stage within the time limit. The business corollary relates to passing on information from the top down without losing important details in translation.
  • Bridging the information gap. Take care to emphasize training tools that help people understand complex or abstract information within the larger contexts of change—the advantage is the rubber that meets the road in greater involvement and accountability on the job.
  • Putting the brakes on “tea parties.” Look at training practices that help individuals take personal ownership, giving learners the ability to affirmatively answer the question “What’s in it for me?” in specific ways rather than adding their voices to any dissenting generalities on the sidelines.
  • Crowning your “kings” of change. Even the most motivated employees can be hesitant off the line. Training initiatives should allow for reflection and internalization, as well as opportunities for team-based peer reinforcement and individual “buy-in” across the board.

The bell lap has rung.  Let us know your thoughts on the article and we’ll help set you straight on your next strategic initiative. Execution is everything!


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