The only route to improved performance is by placing your people at the centre of your strategic decision-making. Lynda Gratton argues that a new management agenda is crucial if strategies are to have meaning
We operate in time, we search for meaning, we have a soul - these are the tenets on which the fundamental "humanness" of organisations is built. To deny them is to create organisations without hope, inspiration or excitement. To acknowledge them brings creativity and inspiration. But how do you bring these tenets to life?
My goal here is not to present you with a list of concepts you should consider, or examples from great companies. They can only be the result of a complex heritage which we can admire but not imitate. Rather, my goal is to share with you a journey of decisions and actions which will lead to a living strategy and set of actions with people at the heart.
This is a journey I have taken with a number of companies over the past decade, a journey that has been illustrated by insights from the research with the Leading Edge Consortium of companies. I want to describe the journey in two ways, first by reference to what the journey is seeking to achieve, ie the content and then by the path which forms the process of the journey.
The genesis of the journey to creating a living strategy started many years ago when I began to advise companies on how to do more than simply design the best assessment centres or reward strategies. By doing so we had begun to acknowledge that the alignment between these processes and the business goals would be critical to the success of the organisation.
But it was no good having the world's most advanced assessment centre if the competencies it profiled and the simulations it created were out of line with the mission of the business. Working with teams at BAT, Unilever, Northern Telecom, Philips and Shell we began to experiment with various ways of bringing life into strategy. At about the same time it became clear to me from the in-depth interviews of the companies in the Leading Edge Research Consortium that, generally, HR professionals and their line manager partners felt confused and unclear about what a strategy for people could look like and how it could be enacted.
To understand the content of the j