Eliminating noise to establish strategic focus
Leadership behaviour that is not aligned to corporate values, political gamesmanship, silo-building, power struggles and ineffective communication practices all create mixed messages which confuse organisational employees. Instead of an environment where everyone is focused on strategic objectives, the organisational context is characterised by distraction, insecurity and frustration. Staff become uncertain — not sure of expectations and performance deliverables. Focus becomes diffused as employees hop from task to task. Of particular significance, the organisational culture becomes “muddy” with diminishing levels of trust, care and creativity. As a result, the company loses its ability to deliver on strategic objectives effectively.
Organisational “noise” can be loosely defined as “anything that disrupts, fuzzes or diffracts a laser-like focus on the achievement of company strategy and goals”. A fuzzy focus results in energy being applied to a myriad of tasks and activities, but not necessarily actions that lead to successful results. This diffusion of energy in turn leads to frustration, irritation and exhaustion. Laser focus, on the other hand, creates an environment where team participation becomes a necessity, discretionary effort is willingly offered and employee strengths are utilised in the attainment of goals.
Alinda Nortje, CEO of Free To Grow, notes four communication necessities in relation to engaging leadership messages:
- Purpose — this is the “why” of the organisation (why do we exist?). This message provides the foundation for all other communication efforts, relating not to profit (that’s a result), but rather to why the company was established in the first place, what it was hoping to achieve and the impact it was designed to have. The “why” represents contribution and intended impact.
- Picture — the vision of the organisation, its picture of what it wants to look like in the future and the conceptualisation of a future realisation of its brand value. This “big picture” view includes the notion of what it wants to be known for and what it wants to achieve.
- Plan — the strategy that is established for the company to reach its goals. Here, the overarching strategy is broken down into departmental goals, mini projects and action steps for measurability purposes.
- Part that you have to play — the individual employee’s actions and activities, key result areas and every day responsibilities. What we are expecting from you.
Company leadership should eliminate “noise” to enable employees to focus on key deliverables and the broader contribution purpose of the organisation. “Noise” fuzzes focus and subsequently side-tracks energy.
Originally published at https://www.stretchforgrowth.com on July 1, 2019.