intent

Commander’s Intent

Richard Rierson Podcast Leave a Comment

intentThe challenge of execution is not a new problem.  In fact it is probably one of the most documented and enduring problems that organizations face.

For decades Leaders & Managers have lamented that one of their most frustrating issue is the inability to successfully execute their most important initiatives.

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When we don’t reach our goals we usually attribute the failure to a lack of detailed planning.  As leaders we get “suckered” into thinking that if we created more detailed plans our vision would be clearly communicated.  To get the results we want, we erroneously exert more detail & control believing this is the only answer for not meeting our objectives.

What we miss, however, is that specifying too much detail actually shakes confidence and creates uncertainty if things do’t go as anticipated (which the most assuredly will).  The more detailed the instructions or plan, the less likely it will fit into a real situation.  And when this happens you actually create more friction.

So what we end doing is exerting even more control; more planning; more detail and begin taking charge of things at lower levels.  We begin taking over tasks that other people are supposed to be doing, more or less dispensing them of their efforts.  In return we multiply our own tasks to the point we can no longer carry them out.  It becomes a vicious cycle.

It is critical for us as leaders that we retain a clear big picture of what it is we want to accomplish; not if some particular thing is done this way or that.

In this podcast I talk about how to obtain & maintain a strategic mindset; a mindset that isn’t focused on developing a strategic detailed plan but instead is focused on developing a strategic “intent”.

HIghlights of this podcast:

  • Detail is not the same as Clarity…in fact it is the enemy.
  • The higher up the leadership chain we are, the more general our instructions should be.
  • A leaders guidance should be completely focused on what we want to accomplish & why.
  • Once we communicate what we want to achieve & why, we can introduce accountability into the mix by delegating the how to our subordinates.
  • Instead of focusing on creating detailed plans, we focus on clarity & alignment.
  • The more alignment you create, the more autonomy you can grant.
  • Instead of trying to manage chaos by controlling the “how” you instead exploit chaos by commanding the what & why.

The end result is an organization that isn’t dependent upon being led by a leadership genius; instead the entire organization becomes and “intelligent organization” with no dependency on exceptional individuals.

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