Picture yourself standing with your team in your Operations kitchen, ready to work. As you roll up your sleeves, your gaze takes in pots, gadgets, and ingredients – enough to make almost anything.
Someone pops their head in and shouts, “Eggs!”
Startled, you turn and ask, “What?”
“Eggs,” says the visitor. “We just need eggs. You’re the cook, figure it out.”
“Um, I have questions,” you stammer. But your colleague has already left.
You’ve just been handed a project. It’s called eggs. You’re vaguely aware there’s an initiative called “breakfast” but not sure if this is related. And you are completely unaware of the overall strategy, which is “wholesome nourishment.”
Do you hand over raw eggs, or prepare eggs benedict dripping in hollandaise sauce with a side of fried potatoes? Either way you’re not aligned with the strategy. Had you been better informed, you might have come up with basic poached eggs. Had you known the big picture you could have integrated eggs with another project called “multigrain toast.”
You can plead with your marketing, engagement, and development colleagues to involve you earlier in their tactics. But better if you are a partner in strategy. As a partner you neither take orders nor dictate the menu. Rather you hold yourself accountable for understanding the strategy and contributing to its development.
Every tool or process or dashboard your team delivers is a vehicle for realizing strategy. It’s that simple. And that hard.