Focus at the top

Let’s look at some of the major issues almost every organization is trying to come to terms with.
1. Strategic agility, to cope with the changing customer demands / market conditions.
2. Fully engaged workforce, aligned with the vision and strategy
3. Cross-functional synergies and so on.
Organizations are investing enormous resources to develop these capabilities.

It’s my hypothesis that large majority of the organizations need to refocus their efforts, for better results.

Take strategic agility. The most common platforms where the need to be agile is spoken about are off-sites / annual retreats or some other similar occasion.

What we need is the CXOs demonstrating their agility in their working e.g. how they tweaked their plan / focus, in the monthly / quarterly / annual reviews (assuming that they did) and how did it help them stay competitive. That’s when their frontline / customer facing teams will also align with this thinking.

If the CXOs themselves need to enhance this capability, then that’s where the focus should be.
It’s a similar story in the case of the need for a fully engaged workforce. While R&R and other practices can supplement engagement efforts, it’s the style of leading the by the CXOs – the communication, connect and compassion together with driving accountability, that will determine engagement. If a CXO needs help here, that’s the focus we need, both in terms of building the capability and also accountability for it.

The same is true for synergy across functions, to fully leverage the strength of the organization. Unless the senior most team demonstrates this in their day-to-day working, it’ll be a long-drawn effort before you can have even a semblance of synergy.

When you focus at the top, besides much better utilization of time and resources, you have small no. of people to bring up to the speed. And you can use all possible means to develop required capabilities and mindsets – coaching, mentoring, action learning projects, workshops, facilitated reviews etc.

Besides, people in organizations imbibe mindset and behaviours of their leaders / managers. Like another legend #stevejobs had said, if you want something done in your organization, do it with the top team. It’ll naturally filter down to the rest of the organization.

It was #PeterDrucker who said “The bottleneck is always at the top of the bottle.” In his view, the most significant constraints a company faces are often at the top and when something isn’t going as per plan, the 1st step is to look into the mirror.

Once you have the CXO team up to the task, they will largely carry their team along, with some facilitation here and there.

Do you also see a case for much greater focus at the top?