Does strategy execution sometimes feel like a tug of war in your organization? Are you constantly juggling the trade-offs between delivering short-term results and making longer term changes?
Managing performance within a team, or in an organization overall, almost always involves finding a balance between opposing ideas or approaches or needs. If you find yourself in this arena, you will most likely enjoy the recent Harvard Business Review article entitled Good Strategy Execution Requires Balancing 4 Tensions.
In this article, the authors expertly identify the four key tensions predictably found in organizations, and bring them to life with relevant examples. The four tensions are:
- Tension #1: An inspiring end-state versus challenging targets – you need to balance a clear picture of what life will look and feel like once change has been successfully implemented with aggressive targets and milestones to be achieved along the way.
- Tension #2: Top-down control versus democratization of change – you need to balance capitalizing on the energy created through empowerment with reigning people in when they get too far off track.
- Tension #3: Capability development versus pressure for results – you need to balance taking the time required to develop the new capabilities you feel are necessary to achieve your goals with making do in order to meet timelines and budgets.
- Tension #4: Creativity versus discipline – you need to balance the insight and excitement of creativity with the realism and necessity of discipline.
This is a short but clever article with some very useful advice, and I think it is well worth the few minutes it will take you to read it.