Organizations around the world make decisions every hour, every minute, every second, producing breakthroughs that improve daily life in ways large and small. The people making these decisions are some of the best at what they do.
So when the environment shifts, why are so many of our organizations exposed as too fragile? Why are so many precise, at the expense of resiliency?
Most organizations – even the most successful – develop ways of working over time that incentivize efficiency and scale. Those companies execute with excellence in stable and well-understood environments. But our current moment, characterized by pandemic and recession, is anything but stable and well-understood. In an environment like this, building an operating model that puts flexibility and teamwork at its core is an imperative. Organizations must update the way they think about making synchronized, efficient decisions — or risk being unable to detect, adjust, and pursue opportunities as they arise in a landscape that will be characterized by volatility for the foreseeable future.
The best decisions originate with a clear vision.
Execution that is too rigid, or slow to change, is usually traced back to a strategy formation and communication process that is too insular and top-down. McChrystal Group works with some of the world’s largest organizations to put into place more agile methods of strategic planning.
For example, during McChrystal Group’s analysis of the structural and behavioral barriers at a Fortune 50 financial services company, we discovered that more than one in four leaders lacked an understanding of their unified organizational vision.
In our experience, this is not a unique scenario. Thoroughly researched and beautifully visualized corporate strategy slide decks typically mask the reality that strategy is only well-understood at the executive level. In times of upheaval, this can lead to catastrophic failure. We find that leaders who simplify their strategy into an “aligning narrative” – something that enables teams across the company, down to the front-lines of execution, to digest and rally behind the vision – are able to adapt more effectively.
Making smart decisions demands modern, lean, and fast communication.
Communicating a clear vision is only the first step.
Your teams don’t want to spend all day in meetings — but in this moment of uncertainty, it is even more critical for the right people to be able to get the right information at the right time at the right speed.
So how do organizations strike the right cadence of communication? Every organization will have a different right answer — but it typically involves a well-structured operating rhythm that increases the volume and velocity of information-sharing at all levels. It improves the ability of a chief executive to project their strategic intent down into the organization, while also improving the ability for front-line teams to report information and influence the company’s direction. And ultimately, it supports the formation of networks of people and ideas across a large organization capable of detecting the next threat, or opportunity, the company needs to identify to succeed.
None of this is possible without a balanced culture.
In The Fearless Organization, Harvard researcher Amy Edmondson describes the inherent tension teams face when assessing decision making processes. Edmondson concludes that a balance of accountability and safety is key to encouraging new approaches that produce measurable impact.
When organizations adapt their internal decision-making process, they must empower teams with a balance between exploration and standards. Evolving the way your teams operate shouldn’t stifle bright thinking — in fact, it may be the way for your teams’ best ideas to come to light.
Together, these elements form the pillars of McChrystal Implementation.
Strategy Alignment and Execution
Define, clarify, and communicate the organization’s stated objectives, its supporting strategies and help teams understand how they support organizational objectives.
- Rapid Strategic Planning & Alignment
- Cascading Alignment
Risk and Decision-making
Tackle the quality and speed of your organization’s decision-making. Learn how to create the right environment to surface new ideas and identify risks early.
- Decision-making Workshops
- Red Teaming
Knowledge Sharing and Communication
Decrease information overload and improve rapid access to pertinent knowledge to enable empowered execution.
- Distributed Workforce Communications
- Operating Rhythm Analysis and Redesign
- Meeting Effectiveness