“In a time of drastic change it is the learners who inherit the future. The learned usually find themselves equipped to live in a world that no longer exists.”
-Eric Hoffer, philosopher and author (1902-1983)
The art and science of executive leadership requires understanding when a strategy will work, which configurations of structure and processes fits the strategy and how to motivate people to behave to support the strategy. It is a mosaic of infinite possibilities with ever shifting colors, designs and fabrics. Outstanding executives understand how to reweave their organizational mosaics to fit shifting markets, to exploit new opportunities and leverage existing and established markets. They understand that they need to stress efficiencies in commodity markets and uniqueness in emerging markets. They have learned through experience that organizing to execute efficiencies is much different than executing uniqueness.
This then is the challenge of creating high performing organizations. Successful executives who lead high performing organizations are those that can see through the complexity of the mosaics of markets, strategies, resources, people, processes, structures, capabilities and the myriad of other variables to see the simplicity of alignment. They see the underlying patterns and how they shift from one situation to another and how they need to guide their organization through these shifting patterns.
However, seeing the complexities amid all the demands and details of daily operations is extremely difficult. Executives who are able to see the alignment issues, the optimal way to weave their organizational mosaics are typically less able to see the details of daily operations. And those executives that excel at guiding the completion of the myriad details are often not able to see the larger mosaic.
High performing organizations not only require executives who can see and continually adjust alignment, but are able to drive strategy execution in the five key areas of an organization: (1) strategy and strategy development, (2) customer focus and approach, (3) leadership, (4) aligning, managing and adjusting processes and behavior, (5) developing and instilling core values. These five areas must be continually rebalanced and realigned to meet the changing demands of the markets, an overwhelming task without excellent tools to guide executives.