After writing my post: Third Part of truth …Motivation; Are You willing to go the extra mile like Chick-fil-A? I had someone contact me with a question I thought was worth sharing.
“I read your last post and I can’t agree more with gathering market truths, assessing internal truths ( particularly after recent lay offs) and having a motivation to make a difference in the lives of those in your marketplace….
But what do you do when you work for an organization that built a plan based on old market data, an inflated view of internal capabilities ( that assumes we work 18-20 hour days) and a motivation that is singularly focused on making our owner wealthier and not changing the lives of those in the market we serve?”
Having helped a number of companies in a variety of industries over the year’s… shame on me for not expecting this question. Not only have I personally faced this dilemma, I know a number of people trying to obediently execute plans that were written from within their organization and lacking market data today.
I enjoyed the conversation with this young man, and below is what I advised him to do;
Gather current Market Truths
Chances are, at some point your leaders were market driven based on the growth they have experienced over the past 20 years. At some point however they started relying on their own personal guts and intuition and forgot the true market sensing process that empowered their original growth. The first thing I advised him to do is assess the market truths of today. Once complete, compare and contrast the plan you were given to execute in relation to current market truths. Note the strategies and tactics that are in alignment and call out those that are no longer rational based on new data.
Write a market truths document
Highlight strategies and tactics in your current plan that are no longer in alignment with the market of today
Asses your internal truths, capabilities, discard to-do’s that do not support your road map
If your team lacks a motivation to serve your market, create one
Write a plan you will execute based on the information you have shared and allow some flexibility
As we closed the call this young manager said “we have a plan, but I am sure Colonel Custer thought he had a plan too…”
Yes, I am sure he did. But he too underestimated the competition and lacked a clear understanding of his market realities. He had scouts warn him that he grossly underestimated the size of his completion but he failed to listen. Is it any wonder this famous battle was over in less than an hour? ( kind of like how most new products are off the shelf within 18 months)
The people I always wondered about were his men…I am sure most were seasoned military soldiers and by nature trained to take and follow orders. However there had to be a few heretics in the ranks and I wonder if they had the courage to speak up, did some dissert the night before the battle, or did they knowing walk into their own demise? History states a number of his men were seen running from the battle when it was obvious all was lost.
If you are asked to execute a plan that is not market driven based on the current realities of your market today, you owe it to your team ( and yourself) to present current market data.
Leaders do not just state the disconnections their plan has with the market realities, but they also provide possible new strategies, they become a part of the solution.
Be a leader… and if you are a member of a team that frowns on gathering current market data to create market driven strategies your have two choices;
Stay on the team and expect to be to do driven, chasing outcomes of the day
Leave the team and seek out market leading organizations that value writing plans strategically based on current market data
I could tell he did not like the second option , (nor did I when I felt the need to leave one of the teams I served when their plans were so far from market truths I experienced physical health concerns as I attempted to be a soldier and follow orders.) I was much younger then and I was still under the erroneous assumption that the Hippos in the room were the most knowledgeable.
How about your organization…do you believe the plan you will execute in 2010 was written with current market data?
If you answer is no, what do you plan to do? Why?
Have you ever presented your Hippos current market data that was contradictory to the plan they gave you to execute?
(Would love to have an expert jump in here on the effects on employee physical health when they attempt to execute plans that are not in alignment with the market realities of today)