In our first insight piece we explored the finding that those at higher levels of the organization report more clarity with respect to the overall direction of their efforts.
Some of our respondents were generous enough to offer thoughts on how this arose. The responses illustrate how quickly a context can be created to explain a situation.
Storyline 1 – Not clear? Pay attention… or ask!
One response pointed the finger squarely at a persistent performance problem: incompetence. This person suggested that some responsibility be borne by senior leadership to provide clear direction, but the lion’s share of blame for this reported ambiguity should go to middle management who is either incompetent or disengaged.
Storyline 2 – You don’t know what you don’t know.
“The devil is in the details” can sum up this line of thought. This respondent suggests the reason that senior leadership is clearer comes from being removed from the very real trade-offs. As stakeholder interactions become more complex, often those in the trenches don’t even understand the implications!
We will suggest that both explanations are logical, rational and defensible. More importantly, the belief may set the stage for corrective action: (1) gather the rank-and-file and communicate again (louder if necessary!); or (2) force senior management to realize real implementation challenges of the crafted strategy (and maybe even get them to reverse a decision or two).
Needless to say, both courses require a warning label: Proceed with Caution. Taking a moment to better understand beliefs can inform what corrective action (if any) will best improve performance.
Thank you again for your participation and we welcome your feedback! Stay tuned for further insight pieces.