10 conversations that undermine strategy

February 12, 2015       The NonProfit Times      

Human beings have an uncanny ability to sabotage their own plans and harm their own interests, individually or collectively.

In his book “Thirteeners” Daniel F. Prosser contends that people can willingly or unwillingly undermine an organization’s strategy with conversations that might not appear to have an undermining element.

Prosser maintains that employees fail to execute an organization’s strategy as a result of the following 10 conversations:

  • That’s not our strategy. There’s no buy-in because employees have nothing invested in it, nothing contributed, nothing at stake.
  • They don’t appreciate us. Employees are resentful of management for not recognizing their contributions.
  • They’re always making excuses. Employers learn from their leaders, including blaming and finger pointing.
  • Did you hear what X said about Y? If something said about someone can’t be said to that person’s face, it’s gossip, and it’s toxic.
  • What mission statement … and why should I care? How can people execute when they can’t see the relevance of management’s mission or its connection to their work?
  • They treat us like s**t. Don’t think this could be said in DoGood Charity? Check it out.
  • It’s the same old story. Employees know when they inauthentic pronouncements.
  • Because s/he’s the boss. That’s why. Actually, employees can use this to get themselves off the hook.
  • We’ve always done it this way. A rigid belief system causes inflexible boundaries.
  • The boss is watching, so just don’t screw up. Focusing on “not losing” can sabotage an organization.