Decisions without Commitment – a Recipe for Strategic Failure

on June 3, 2012

I think great performers and CEOs often have an uncanny ability to refine special skills of extraordinary anticipation and exceptional peripheral vision. A great illustrative point of that concept is hockey great Wayne Gretzy’s famous quote:

“A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be.”

In working with many CEOs over the years, there are some key areas I believe they should be mindful of as they lead forward. These are not necessarily statements of fact that must be adopted, but rather considerations for the days and months ahead that you should search your “relevance detector” to determine their appropriateness.

Resist the temptation to be seduced by the value of decisions without commitment!

The statistics are clear. More than 52% of senior executives do not believe their company’s strategy will set them up to win in the marketplace. Ironically, these are the very same strategies they have coauthored and have raised a thumb for and declared publicly “I am in.”

Decisions without commitment are meaningless, and commitment without authentic dialogue and vetting is impossible. While decisiveness is a goal, the only chance that the change will be executed will depend on the commitment of the larger group leading the change.

On the surface, it is hard to take issue with the logic of most strategic decks. But there is a huge difference between not arguing with the analytics of the deck and taking a strong position and personally advocating for a decision or your strategy for the future.

The goal is not just making a decision, but actually building the collective commitment to execute that decision with personal passion and advocacy.

When that happens, CEOs can begin to roll out a strategy they feel passionate about, have a strong conviction in, and be optimistic about its success.

 

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