Avoiding Direction Drift

From boardrooms to lunchrooms across America the discussions are the same. In the lunchrooms the question is, “who are we and where are we going”. In the boardrooms the question is, “where are we going and how do we get there”.

In either case the results are the same. Direction Drift. You won’t find the concept described in management or business books because I just made it up. After 20 years of working with clients in dozens of industries ranging in sales form one million to several billion dollars I have come to the conclusion that this is one of the biggest challenges facing corporate America today. The consequences of direction drift are many but they can be summarized into just 5.

1. A lack of communicated direction contributes to poor

employee performance and productivity.

2. A lack of clear direction increases the likelihood of wasted

corporate resources.

3. A lack of focused direction adds a negative element to

corporate culture mainly, the “here we go again syndrome”.

4. A lack of consistent direction adds a great deal of

uncertainty to the attitudes of employees whose primary

function is to take the organization where it is headed.

5. A lack of confident direction is a signal to employees, the

marketplace and your competitors that you are vulnerable

and unsure of your objectives and strategies. What is the

cause of this malaise.

I believe there are five distinct contributors to this problem.

1. Senior management is not in touch with the reality of either

its organization or the marketplace.

2. Senior management is stuck in a historical perspective and is

unable or unwilling to revisit their role and fundamental

purpose as a business entity.

3. Change is coming so fast and furious that organizations are

unable or unwilling to develop a correct perspective on what

is really happening in the world, whether their world is a

regional or international arena.

4. Arrogance and or ignorance prevents management from

admitting that they need to rewrite their mission statement

and strategies.

5. Inaction seems safer than

wrong action.

The world is not going to sit idly by as organizations wait for a sure and safe path into the future to become evident. Somewhere in the world today some organization is zeroing in on your customers. You can ill afford to continue to adhere to a philosophy of wait and see. Boldness, responsiveness. clear vision, flexibility, fast response time and courage will be the benchmarks of future successful organizations. There are three areas that I encourage you to consider if you do not want to become a casualty in the coming years.

1. You must put in place a system of open, honest and top

down and bottom up communication.

2. You must tap the resources of your most valuable asset,

your people.

3. You must do more than listen to your customers, you must

think ahead of them and offer them what they want, not

what you want to give them.