Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Silos, Politics and Turf Wars

I started reading a new book yesterday, Silos, Politics and Turf Wars by Patrick Lencioni. Its a story about a guy who leaves corporate life to become a consultant. The story reveals his journey in finding a model for how to help executive teams get aligned, and rallying in a common direction.

This book is par for the course right now. American life is being bombarded with a need to save, and protect turf. Its exactly this type of focus that gets people set in a self-serving mentality. Its even worse if the people are self-serving to begin with.

Lencioni's book reminded me of George Morrisey's Strategic Planning Model. The basics of strategic planning are what we need; start with a vision - a target destination, and break it down to spending energy and resources that will mobilize the group towards execution that matters.

We need higher level strategies - for the good of the whole. We need the strength of an outstretched hand to tip the heavy chins of leadership up, out of the overwhelming details.
It is truly the act of leadership at this point - to pull the team up. Leadership needs to facilitate the focus on invention. Leadership needs to ensure teams stay true to the course of what matters for the lifeblood of their business. It is not necessarily the day-to-day stuff - this will always be there. It is the solutions to moving forward now, in these times that needs to be strategized.

Here are the clues the book gave for getting back on track:
  1. Define the overarching goal or theme that describes what your business most needs to pay attention to in order to survive/thrive.
  2. Identify 3-5 ares to focus on - that act like legs on a stool; without these the place falls
  3. Identify operating standards (metrics) for each area, that can tell you how well you are doing.
  4. Make these the flow of your meeting agendas - and keep them as top priorities
  5. When you get the sense that turf wars, politics and silos are invading the priority focus - crush them immediately and get the group back to whats best for the whole.

The Partnership between the CEO characters and the consultant gave each business just the right amount of "out-sight" and unbiased perspective to help the group move forward.

If you think your team could stand to go through this exercise, feel free to reach out!

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