Avon, Dell, the Chicago Cubs, the City of Chicago, HP, the University of Virginia, the San Diego Padres, just to name a few.
Each one has a new pilot. Each pilot has a major challenge on his or her hands. They’ve got to lead the re-building of their respective planes in the worst mix of headwinds, crosswinds, tailwinds, snow sleet, ice, hail and blinding sun any business pilot alive today can remember.
No landing and taxiing to the hangar. Not even a touch and go landing. Airborne re-supply only (fuel and crew). Keep flying, get the right crew on board, and come up with a plan to fix the plane, make course corrections, rebuild it and get the rebuilt plane to its new destination.
Today’s business pilots greatly increase their odds of getting the plane rebuilt in these horrendous flying conditions by focusing on and constantly making adjustments to five key flight plan vectors.
The five vectors for rebuilding in mid-flight correspond to what the books terms Strategy Implementation. It’s the time between Strategy Formulation, when you’re developing your plan and Strategy Execution, when you’re directing and managing a totally new business model. In other words, it’s the messy rebuilding period that takes you from old reality to new reality.
Vector One: Talk Strategy. First of all you and your crew need to discuss the strategy you’re implementing every day. No going back to your ‘day job’ after your plan is done. Strategy implementation is your new day job. Talking strategy every day means constantly interpreting plan implementation in light of the most recent weather change and deciding what needs to be done next.
Vector Two: Begin New Work. One of the first course corrections you and your crew discuss is what new work needs to be done to get your strategy up and running. In the light of the new strategy, new work also involves stopping old work that’s now off strategy. Stopping old work is in many ways more difficult that starting new work. It’s both the starting of new work and the stopping of old work that gets your plane re-built.
Vector Three: Organize Authority. This vector is not about people. It’s about positions and which positions have decision making authority over which work activities. With vectors two and three you are determining how the new organization will look and work. In our rebuilding metaphor, you are figuring out what needs rebuilding and what roles have responsibility for each part of the rebuilding.
Vector Four: Manage People. Vectors two and three together give you the roles you need to fill and in this step you fill them. It’s here where the hard conversations occur: who stays, who goes, who gets a new job, what new crew members you bring on board.
Vectors two, three and four are all managed and executed in close coordination. Together they create one of the key guidelines for rebuilding in the air: Staff the organization. Don’t organize the staff.
Vector Five: Recognize and Reward. A lot of hard work goes into directing, managing and adjusting the first four vectors. In this vector, outstanding pilots make sure they recognize and reward the outstanding crew members who make your rebuilt plane a reality.
These five vectors come from having worked closely with outstanding leaders who’ve re-modeled their entities in really inclimate business weather, i.e., the last several years. A key competency of these leaders is their facility for managing all five vectors at the same time. They’ve re-built their planes with great success. Their reward has been piloting a new, faster, more productive plane to new destinations. In business parlance, they have enjoyed record years shortly after the trial-by-rebuilding was behind them and their renovated organizations were in full execution mode.
For still more on rebuilding in the air, go to www.giraffellc.net .