“HR seems to place more obstacles than provide solutions”. “Finance is utterly inflexible. Can’t they see what we need?” “We need to deliver the goods NOW! Why does Logistics take so long?”
“Silo mentality” is a common complaint that we don’t want to hear about every day. Of course, any business would like to break that, unless your business happens to go by the name of MI6, CIA or something like that. Yet, when Business Units (BUs) are encouraged to get to know each others’ domains a little better, the common complaint is “We don’t have time, we have too much to do!” Even when people know that gaining an understanding of how adjacent BUs do their work is beneficial for their OWN work, they drag their feet about it.
I think that the main reason for not being able to think strategically is a lack of basic robustness in your own BU. In other words, you’re not as competent in your job as you ought to be. It is commonly known that the deadliest derailers of your BU, indeed, of your organization, are not the big things, but the small things, a.k.a. “For the want of a nail”. That would mean that every person in your BU is cruising along at two-thirds full throttle MOST of the time and not struggling to catch their breath. What do I mean by “two-thirds full throttle”? It means having a third of your time free. Free to develop better workplace relationships. Free to better understand how Legal works, for example. Free to understand why Logistics takes two weeks to deliver, and it can’t be any less. Free to do heads-down work for four hours, lift your head up and wonder why you feel so hungry. Free to have a slightly longer lunch break where you get a flash of an idea that could lead you to cut delivery time by half. That’s what I mean by “two-thirds full throttle”. It leaves you one-third spare capacity for the times when full throttle is called for, and may those times be few.
So how do you strengthen basic robustness in your BU? Answer: Wind Sprints. I think people who argue against “Training” are barking up the wrong tree. Training, especially basic training, is essential for building up organizational robustness, and I don’t mean in a physical way. Training is part of development, part of the continuing cycle of getting better at what we do and who we are.
What are the “wind sprints” that are applicable to your BU? Start building your team up, and you will be on the road to enabling them to think more strategically. Would that be something you’d like to have?