Be Honest With Yourself!

One surprising fact in conversations with managers and leaders is their frequent dishonesty with themselves.

Typical dialogs:

  • Manager: “Yes, sure, our vision is clear.” Me: “Could you state your vision?” For the next five minutes I hear a mix of values, assumptions, and plans—everything but a clear vision.
  • Manager: “Yes, our staff is aligned with the strategic goals.” Me: ”Okay, and what if I asked ten random people about these strategic goals, would I get the same answer ten times?” Leader: “No, of course not!”
  • Manager: “Yes, we differentiate ourselves clearly from our competitors.” When I ask ten of their clients about the differentiators, however, I usually hear the same statements that I also hear about each competitor.

These examples show that many leaders and managers live in a world of wishful thinking.

Many don’t check the reality.

To close the gap, take these steps:

  • If the leadership team shares a clear vision, then write it down in one sentence. If you cannot do it, then you don’t have a vision—it’s as simple as that. So create one!
  • If you want your people to commit to your strategy, then make sure all of them know the top strategic goals. Ask them directly, no survey needed.
  • If you want to be different from your competition, then create added value from the perspective of your (potential) customers. A new text in the marketing brochure won’t do the job—the value must be real.

The first step: Be honest with yourself. Stop the delusion.

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