Do you often feel you are banging your head against the wall, crafting corporate strategies that aren’t embraced and executed as you feel they should be?
Well, sometimes there are things you just have to get your head around, whether you want to or not.
Harvard Business Review published an article entitled Great Corporate Strategies Thrive on the Right Amount of Tension, and they let you know right up front that strict compliance with your carefully crafted strategy doesn’t always correlate directly to performance. What you need is just the right amount of strategic stress between the deliberate execution of your plans and the responsive actions you take to emerging issues.
This thing called strategic stress, according to the authors, is characterized by three zones:
- Strategic Burnout (too much strategic stress) – usually caused by such things as too much autonomy, unrealistic strategic plans and/or unexpected market dynamics.
- Strategic Boredom (not enough strategic stress) – causing complacency which may, in turn, lead to rigid execution of the strategy and being blind to emerging risks or opportunities.
- Strategic Sweet Spot (just the right amount of strategic stress) – which is characterized by a sufficient balance between alignment and nonconformity.
Perhaps it is true after all that we learned everything we need to know in kindergarten, and Goldilocks might have taught this lesson. To stay alert and responsive you need the right amount of tension between compliance and autonomy – not too much, and not too little.