“Why do I need strategy training?”
If you think I made this question up so that I can spin the answer into a not-so-subtle plug for my own strategy training company, I have to admit, you may be partially correct! But only partially…
The truth is, I wanted to feature this question not because any one person sent it into the show, and not even because I directly received this question somewhere on the outside. Instead, I wanted to answer this question because doing so addresses a sentiment that is at the heart of a conversation that I seem to be having more frequently than I care to admit. And it goes something like this:
Me: “What do you feel are the biggest pain points in your organization?”
Client: “We need our employees to behave more like leaders.”
Me: “And how do you feel that leaders should behave?”
Client: “Leaders focus on the big picture. They’re self-starters. They don’t wait to be told what to do. In short, leaders treat the business as if it were their own. That’s what we need from our employees”
Me: “So you need them to be more strategic?”
Me: “And how do you believe you can help them get there?”
Client: “Well, we put everyone through leadership training – and it helped a little. But now we need to evaluate whether or not we have the right people in the right roles…”
And that’s about the point in the conversation when I introduce the concept of strategy training – not just strategy skills training, but comprehensive project-based training that’s designed to step entire teams (including company leaders) through the process of developing real strategies in real-time.
Unfortunately, it’s far too convenient for company leaders to attribute their organization’s problems to a lack of employee skills. And it’s even more convenient to believe that a one-off training class will provide some sort of a magical cure. In reality, learning is absolutely part of the solution – but only when that learning is shared equally among employees, leaders, and companies as a whole. Which means that throwing a class or two at someone is likely to have little or no effect on the organization at all.
When I refer to “strategy training,” I’m not just talking about a class; I’m talking about a process, which consists of 3 basic parts:
- Traditional Classroom Learning
- Real-Time Strategy Brainstorming
- Longer-Term Strategy Development and Execution
So, there’s an element of knowledge transfer, an element of knowledge application, and an element of knowledge sustainability. But, more than that, there is shared accountability among employees, leaders, and the company; mainly because all three of these steps require that all three of these stakeholders engage with one another at every point along the way.
Employees need to engage in the learning. Leaders need to play an active role in helping develop their companies’ product and business strategies and providing the required guidance and resources needed to bring those strategies to life. And companies need to support the entire process with a culture that balances long-term planning with short-term results.
The bottom line is this: If your employees are not behaving strategically enough for your liking, it’s probably not because they lack basic business or leadership skills. Instead, it’s far more likely that your organization lacks a top-to-bottom infrastructure that both supports and rewards true strategic behaviors. And the fix for that disease isn’t just a class; it’s a comprehensive strategy training program that allows employees, leaders, and companies to build their knowledge and skills – together.
Of course, that’s not the easiest answer for most company leaders to accept because, as it turns out, it’s the answer that requires the most self-reflection and, frankly, the most work. But it’s also the only answer that will enable employees to become the true strategic leaders that their companies ultimately want them to be.
For more information on how you can participate in one of our comprehensive strategy training programs, please visit us at Strategy Generation Company, or feel free to reach out using the contact link on this site.
Listen to the podcast episode
Dear Strategy: Episode 087
Are you interested in strategy workshops for your product, marketing, or business managers? If so, please be sure to visit Strategy Generation Company by clicking the link below:
Bob Caporale is the founder of Strategy Generation Company, the author of Creative Strategy Generation and the host of the Dear Strategy podcast. You can learn more about his work by visiting bobcaporale.com.