Is there a difference between mission statements and manifestos? Yes and no. Their intentions may be the same but that’s where the similarity ends. In practice, the outcomes of mission statements and manifestos are miles apart. Though manifestos and missions are crafted to bring people together behind a cause, manifesto’s have a much better track record of igniting action. The best are so emotionally charged that their catalytic influence can endure for centuries. Such was the case for the Ten Commandments, and the Declaration of Independence. As recently as fifty years ago, an emotional speech delivered from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial established a clear and convincing purpose for American Civil Rights. ‘I Have a Dream’ is arguably the most inspiring manifesto of our time.
Every company, department or team needs a leader. Leaders set the tone for the organization’s culture. It is a proven fact. Can you have a successful company without a CEO? Do football team captains play a major role in a winning season? Does a cruise ship need a captain to reach its destination safely? A focus on leaders is the natural design of how we operate as a society. So what education/training should be offered to develop the leaders, the influencers needed to grow your company, establish your branded culture, and obtain your business revenue goals of tomorrow?
Let’s focus on one of several key attributes a leader should possess: the ability to communicate effectively.
Think of the last time you bought a product you were very excited about. Maybe it was the iPhone 6 with its sleeker look, improved features and screen size that forces you to buy pants with bigger pockets. Maybe it was the Lululemon yoga pants that are comfortable and stylish at the same time. Or maybe it was the new driver that you think will help your golf game and knock a couple of strokes of your handicap. What did you feel when you bought those items? Probably a sense of excitement, a sense of anticipation and maybe even a sense of pride and emotional attachment
Now, let me ask you how you felt that last time you were exposed to the strategy of your organization. Did it feel similar to some of the emotions triggered above? Or did it feel more like that class in college with the really boring professor … where you tried to retain just enough information to pass the test or sound intelligent if called upon? If it is the latter, you are unfortunately not alone. Engaging employees in strategies is simple not done well in many companies. Yet these same companies are often great at launching new products or services to their customers.
A lot can be gleaned by how we launch products and services effectively and applying it to how we launch and implement our strategies. I believe it is one of the most cost effective ways to improve organizational performance available to companies today.
Mergers and Acquisitions have now been cited by Goldman Sachs as the primary global growth strategy for large-cap companies. The last twelve months have seen the return of the strategic inquirer, with blue chip companies driving deal frequency and volumes not seen since 2007 and 2008. Yet, almost religiously, study after study shows that mergers and acquisitions fail at rate of 70% to 90%, leaving massive intellectual, creative and financial currency on the table.
The number one reason for M & A failure? Culture clash.
And a decades long flawed strategy titled “integration.”
Here’s the unspoken truth accompanied by the predictable chain of events.
An M&A is an arranged marriage.
- There is no love at the beginning.
- The issues start Day One.
- Executives announce the once hush-hushed M&A information.
- Employees feign excitement as FEAR ripples through both companies.
- The C suite announces: “This will be great for everyone!”
- No one is buying that promise.
A culture of SURVIVAL thinking and behaviors is now in play.
To quiet the fear, a WILDLY FLAWED STRATEGY called INTEGRATION is announced.
Leaders often struggle with managing approaches to improve engagement and ownership as part of a process that directly impacts results. Company meetings, one-off engagement activities, and other approaches might work but there is a technique you should build into the fabric of your organization. It’s a relatively simple but powerful process that supports improved engagement, ownership, accountability, and results but some discipline and consistency are required.