22 November 2019

The Discipline of One 

Over my career, I have seen an interesting phenomenon, teams that win focus on one core goal

for the entire company.


Anyone you speak to within the company can state the strategy simply and easily. For example : beat XYZ competitor”, “grow sales by 30% ”, or “improve our customer satisfaction by 20% . Teams that fail to reach their potential , focus on too many strategic goals.


Here’s the pitfall, it starts with five corporate goals that trickles down into twenty mid-level manager goals and by the time it reaches the front-line employees , they have no idea how to articulate what the company is focused on.


When the company focuses on everything, nothing feels like a priority.


The team looks back on the year and cannot figure out why they did not get further with their goals. They fail to realize , a divided vision seldom creates enormous success.


So, let’s change that.


When we work with large organizations on their strategic vision for the year, we start with the following three-step approach:


  1. Identify one rock that if overturned would be a game-changer for the organization.
  2. Create success metrics by business unit s so everyone will know if they are succeeding.
  3. Articulate the strategy clearly, beautifully, visually , and share it with every employee.

While easier said than done , with focus you would be amazed at how successful you can be by deliberately focusing the organization in one direction versus many. Sure, you can have your 5-10 goals for the year but you will continue to get what you’ve always gotten. Alternatively, you can point your entire organization towards one hill you want them to take. The entire force of the organization against one strategic goal is powerful!


Remember, strategy without execution is dead upon arrival . Perhaps we can look at it this way. We have two organizations that are competitors. One organization feels divided, they experience a great deal of task switching , and the teams are burning the candle at both ends while attempting to accomplish 10 goals. 


On the other hand, the second organization moves as one ; t hey have one powerful team with one goal. Everyone in th is organization is focused on the same goal and can articulate that goal when asked. Which organization would you rather compete with?


When you adopt this method, don’t forget to celebrate your win as a team, because when the entire organization is focused on one goal, you will win .



About the Author: 


Natalie Born is an innovation strategist. She has spent the last 15 years designing and creating products with the goal of creating customer delight. She has contributed to two approved US patents during her career and is passionate about helping organizations leverage the incredible talent they have to create the outcomes they want.


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Innovation Meets Leadership