I am in the process of re-reading one of my favorite books of all time, “Blue Ocean Strategy.” We have all heard that a strategy is only as good as a team’s ability to execute. In Blue Ocean Strategy, they use the concept of Fair Process to describe the most effective way to execute on a strategy.
The underlying principle is that people care more about the strategy execution process being “fair” than they care about the strategy itself. Here are the 3 “E’s” of fair process:
1) Engagement: this step involves asking everyone involved for their input. No one will buy into a strategy that they had no input in creating. This goes for a strategy shoved down from a corporate ivory tower, or one shoved down from a parent to a child. Remember “No Input, no buy in.”
2) Explanation: everyone involved must understand the “why” behind the strategy. They must also see where their input has been applied. If people don’t understand something, they won’t trust it.
3) Expectation: What standards will they be judged by, what are the new goals and what does this specifically mean for them.
A strategy that is introduced the wrong way will be met with resistance, distrust and will be artificially challenging to execute. A strategy that is introduced through fair process will be met with commitment, trust and voluntary cooperation. Next time you think about execution, think about the 3 E’s.