Four years ago I wrote about Implementing in the Dark. In it I pointed out that the scorecard for executive teams when it comes to major, strategic decisions is pretty poor. With fail rates estimated between 40 and 50%.
I went on to say that much of it can be explained because leaders were implementing in the dark. That is, leaders are sometimes blissfully unaware of how their decisions will be implemented in practice by staff in their organisation. For all major decisions there are assumptions inherently made about how staff will act in implementation of the decision. And if those assumptions do not align perfectly to organisational culture, they are misinformed.
In today’s world even the most intuitive leadership team is at risk of this phenomenon. Because so much is being implemented with a feeling of doom and gloom. Whether in lockdown or not, the uncertainty of the next 12 months is telling on people’s minds. Playing cruel tricks on every staff member.
Four years ago I wrote: “If a leader does not properly understand these nuances (of organisational culture), they are working in the dark and the intent of their decision is not likely to be realised.”
Today leadership teams need to double down to understand how culture may have changed or is changing week to week.