Thursday, December 6, 2012

Strategy implementation: An alternative to inspiring through fear

Leaders get paid to think big, which means they sometimes announce ambitious initiatives and then leave the details for others to figure out. These leaders hand down the marching orders and expect targets to be hit. But they are not around at 3 a.m. to see the fallout on the rank and file.
They do not see the impact on people like the project manager we recently met in a Fortune 100 company. She routinely returns home from work around 7 p.m., cooks dinner for her family and puts her daughter to bed. Then she opens her laptop and works several more hours, often until 3 a.m.
We asked her why she does this. Her response serves as a wakeup call for leaders everywhere who distance themselves from strategy implementation. “They keep adding new initiatives,” she told us. “These leaders don’t fully understand what it takes to translate their vision into results.” This project manager is a high-performer who refuses to fail. But she has human limits.
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