13 May 3 Great Meals and A Rotten Strategy
The day promised to be a great day in business. Team was all together, we had a great line up of speakers, insightful training and the anticipation of a cohesive and comprehensive strategy was good reason for excitement.
There had been significant restructuring at the Board/CEO level and their new vision really hadn’t been rationalized to the tens-of-thousands of employees in the business units and field teams.
The day started with a BU leadership breakfast. Small group of high performing and high energy people, each leading large teams driving significant revenue. The scrambled eggs were perfect, light and fluffy, cooked through but not dry. The pancakes were tasty rather than pasty and the fresh fruit bowl delighted as if it were fresh picked. Meal #1, check.
Session one was a BU breakout and planning workgroup to align objectives to regions, teams and industry. With the challenging combination of new industry offerings and run-rate business practices, the field teams needed incentive and motivation to drive the strategy through significant change. Quotas and comp plans needed to be adjusted and proper tools and training was critical for their success. As leaders, we were reasonably optimistic that the framework created in this strategy session was sound.
As we broke for lunch, side bar conversations and humorous storytelling spilled out into the dining area where an impressive spread of gourmet offerings made everyone’s eyes pop. Salads, pastas, fabulously tender and spiced filets, cheese, bread and fruit that required some constraint as the plate filled to avoid that over satisfied afternoon lull. Great meal #2.
Entering the very energized room for the first afternoon session was good reason for curiosity and a bit of ambition. Liz Wiseman (Multipliers http://thewisemangroup.com/) was taking the room to elevate the leadership and drive new operating principles helping leadership grow through these turbulent times. The session was excellent. Right on target, thoughtful and challenging with a structure for growth and guiding principles that would certainly raise the bar for the entire company.
Quick snack and refreshments and we raced into the sales training session to bring the day to a productive conclusion. The sales training was perfectly focused on the challenges of moving the team to a more strategic and deeper consultative client engagement, transitioning from an historically high volume transactional environment. It was interactive, personal and really well crafted to establish a path forward and set the foundation for what was certain to be a journey of adjustment, growth and change for the entire sales force. Nice investment in the career growth of the team.
Three great stand alone sessions, and now to the best meal. We were encouraged to take this opportunity for BU team bonding. We picked the restaurant as a group and took over a top area sushi spot. Tempura, vegetarian, rolls galore and enough sashimi and nigiri to delight everyone. We talked, laughed, reflected on the day. Fantastic meal #3.
So, What’s “Rotten” about that?
Three GREAT meals. Each perfect for the time of day – each satisfying – each prepared to perfection.
Three great sessions. Each was well presented, valuable and on target – individually. Here is the challenge:
- The objective alignment, distribution, quota and comp session in the morning was solid. We needed to reverse a cycle of “say-not-do,” and deliver this promise.
- The session with Liz Wiseman was simply awesome, except for the complete lack of desire from the executive team to apply these principles and strive to become an enlightened company. They were so “old-school” rigid that the growth encouragement was directed at the employee mass – the ELT was hardened in their beliefs and no growth was welcome. So these wonderful principles of ‘multiplier’ leaders and positive effect on corporate culture and growth had zerochance of application. These practices would not show up in meetings, practices and were never baked into any ongoing behaviors or follow through training.
- While the sales training definitely had lasting individual value for all participants, the methods and strategies were not implemented into the CRM system, were not reflected in practice during team or 1:1 meetings, and didn’t adjust the daily/weekly rhythms or dialogs in any fashion. Again, it appeared that the purpose was to check a box so the ELT could tell the board they invested and gave the “people” what they needed to get better.
Now, imagine that the 3 GREAT meals were delivered on the same plate at the same time – A pile of spicy-fluffy pancakes-sushi-fruit-filet-salad-fry. Gross!
When 3 great sessions are mashed together without process reform, revision of methods, communication rhythms, tool and tech adjustments and continued commitment to change engagement on all fronts, then these unique stand-alone gems become – a very rotten strategy.