May 7, 2009

Let employees draft the Organizational Identity

Very often businesses are caught between various business strategies, turning around to different market niches and segments.

However, when that happens it might be making a lot of your employees confused about what you really want to do.

Wasn't it Porter who said that strategy is as much about knowing what choices you do not want to make as it is about what choices you do make.

Well, strategy defines the organizational identity as much as the norms and values that are promoted and encouraged within the organization - and frequent changes of strategy can leave your workforce confused.

If you're a business leader and there are strategic choices that you're waffling about - or frequently changing - then communicating about them to the employees and explaining those choices is a good thing to do.

However, it would be best to involve them in the brainstorming process, and seek their inputs in actually help in making those choices. 

Depending on where you are in your business maturity, using a process like Open Space Technology or Future Search would be an answer. 

Frontline and middle level employees often know better about the market, consumers and competitors than top leadership gives them credit for and do not over-intellectualize the problems and opportunities.

Of course, real time employee feedback and sharing can be incorporated in the DNA of the organization by means of social media and knowledge management .