Lately I’ve shared the first steps in getting a leadership team engaged, rationally and emotionally committed and aligned towards a collective envisioned future. The whole process starts with :

  • A Clear Purpose, Vision and Mission,
  • Values That Capture the Soul of the Organisation, and
  • A Joint Aspiration That Captures the Imagination and Fuels the Desire to Achieve the Vision

Having created clarity and agreement on what you want to achieve as a leadership team, the next step is to plan how you get to your desired future. Often leadership teams immediately start planning what needs to be done to get there. In doing so, people often forget one very important intermediate step:

For each and every member of the leadership team to agree on where you stand at the moment.

My experience is that if you ask team members where the organisation stands today by asking:

  • What are our organisational strengths and weaknesses?
  • What are the trends that could impact our organisation going forward? and,
  • What are the strength and weaknesses of our competitors and how will they grow?

You’ll get a large variety of answers. So, before you start planning for the future, you first need to agree on where you stand today.

Where Does the Leadership Team Stand Today

To help leadership teams get a grip on where they stand today and what potential issues they are facing, I take them through a two stage current reality process. These two steps assess the organisation’s current reality from the

Outside – In

  • What are the future trends that might impact our business?
  • What is the competitive landscape?

Inside – Out

  • What are our organisational strengths and weaknesses?
  • What are the positives and negatives of our current culture?

To help you facilitate these conversations I suggest you do the following 4 exercises with your leadership team:

Exercises for Outside – In

1. External Insights: Identify the Social, Technological, Economical, Political, Educational, and Demographic trends (STEPED) in the world, country, industry that might impact your business in the future.

2. Competitors: Identify what are the strengths and weaknesses of your main competitors and if you were in their shoes how you would attack your company.

Exercises for Inside – Out

3. Organisational Health: Do a classic SWOT exercise in which you identify what are the organisational strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats that the company is facing.

4. Cultural Assessment: Identify what are the goods (what is good about it), bads (what we should improve) and uglies (what frustrates you) about the culture of your company. And what you should focus on to build an organisational culture that will drive your team to achieve your purpose.

If you take your leadership team through these 4 exercise you find that the team has become more clear about where you stand and also what needs to be done in order to achieve your aspirational goals. And then, you’ll finally be ready to start talking about your company’s strategy. More on that next week.