Details of the Workshop - From Strategy to Execution
Duration – 6 hours
Testimonials available on request for this session from attendees.
|Leadership Lessons from the Armed Forces|
1. Defining the ‘enemy’
The core reason why teams don’t function optimally is not because individual members are not competent. Usually it is because the members are not aligned to one universal mission. Though business groups mouth the same mission statements, very often parochial agendas pull the team at cross purposes. This dissipation of energy and focus results in loss of opportunities and suboptimal performance.
The module begins with a short interactive exercise where attendees are grouped into teams and presented with the same problem. The attendees are stunned to see that though each team has been presented with exactly the same information – there are diverse conclusions drawn by different teams and there is dissonance even within the same team. And each one is convinced that they are right. Most importantly however, virtually all of them miss the real answer which is staring at them in the face.
This module drives home the lesson that achieving alignment is easier said than done and while business leaders believe that their communication has aligned the teams, in fact there are multiple agendas operating as undercurrents.
2. Why communication fails?
As organisations grow in size, leaders use a wide variety of tools to communicate their strategic intent, decisions, operating procedures and other aspects necessary for controlling the organisation. These range from dialogs, individual conversations, written instructions, knowledge portals etc. However, the usage of such tools and their efficacy is often misunderstood. The crux of communication is in the context – not the content.
This module demonstrates the importance of context in communication and the necessity of developing a ‘common vocabulary’ within the entire organisation by tasking the attendees with a set of instructions that they have to follow. Teams are again shocked to find that though they have identical instructions – different contexts cause them to follow the instructions in different ways and end with results far removed from the intent.
3. Speed of Trust
Research has proven that teams that trust each other perform much better. ‘Speed of trust’ is a major differentiator that organisations can leverage to catapult themselves into the next orbit. This module consisting of a short outdoor exercise demonstrates why individuals and teams don’t trust each other and often with very good reasons. Ironically, efforts of making people/ teams ‘like’ each other are neither practical nor necessary. Individuals who may not necessarily get along at a personal level can still operate as a highly efficient team provided they leverage the speed of trust on the professional competence of their team mates.
4. The building blocks of strategy – Case Study
This module is based on a historic battle between two armies. One side numbering just 5000 tired, depleted and exhausted troops who faced an enemy six times their size. Their adversary had fresh troops, better tactical advantages and more resources. Yet, at the end of this four hour battle, the smaller body of troops devastated their much superior foes following the fundamental principles of war.
The participants go through a pre-read and discuss the battle from its preparation, planning and actual conduct and learn the finer points of developing strategy based on own cultural strengths rather than being influenced by the strategy of the competitor or the operating environment. They learn how a well organised team can beat a vastly superior competition by choosing the right building blocks of strategy.
5. Achieving alignment across the organisation– Case Study
On June 6th 1944, mankind witnessed the largest body of troops ever assembled. These troops came from scores of different countries, with varying levels of motivation and many thousands did not even speak the same language or operate with each other before. Operation Overlord as the D Day landings were known, consisted of several sub-operations, the success of each one of which was critical to the overall victory and even survival. Yet under one unified command, the allied troops landing on the beaches of Normandy, under the most adverse conditions, against the toughest opposition led by Germany’s finest General - Rommel, achieved stupendous victory.
What was the framework used by allied commanders to forge this disparate body of troops, being led by generals with monumental egos and differences into a singular unstoppable juggernaut that changed the course of history?
Using the backdrop of perhaps THE most complex human endeavor ever - attendees go through Operation Overlord step by step and discover the principles of achieving alignment that works across armies and operations regardless of size and complexity. And they learn a template that can be used in their own thinking & operating processes and be able to implement it.