I recently posted that the creation of strategy was better served by being flexible and agile than creating concrete plans. Here’s part 3:
7. Encourage Risks; Tolerate Mistakes ((Millard, Rob, June 5, 2006. “Increasing Your Strategic Clock Speed.” Retrieved from http://www.robmillard.com on August 6, 2006.))
A culture where mistakes made in good faith are punished slows execution clock speed. It also slows organizational learning and discourages innovation. (Such mistakes would exclude obvious negligence or overstepping the communicated boundaries.) Where mistakes are acknowledged and then constructively ‘mined’ for lessons learnt, the execution clock speed accelerates.
Part of what Rob is talking about here is the fear of action. Mistakes should be tolerated (to a point) and lessons learned. There is however, a line between a mistake and negligence and thoughtlessness. There is also a difference between being held accountable for losses and being “punished.” (but these are different topics)
Back to the original point. Fear of action manifests in two ways. The first is the fear of making decision and contributions. You may be hesitant to pull the trigger and your staff may be hesitant to make recommendations if your last strategic experiment failed and you were “punished” for it. The second manifestation is a slowing of implementation execution. Both of these directly impact the strategic clock time.
The key point here is that your personal management style may impact your ability to act strategically. Allowing employees to act, contribute, and innovate freely not only creates a better environment for your strategy, it also creates a better culture for engagement.