Just as a stone hitting the water causes ripples, strategic decisions cause ripples in an organizational culture. I thought about that Monday night as my husband audibly gasped when Alabama brought in a true freshman quarterback to start the half. Really? The starting quarterback is 25-2. He’s proven himself. But yet the leader chose to throw a rather large stone into the pond.
Understanding the magnitude of the ripples and where they flow allows strong leaders to ensure the team and culture are prepared for the after effects of the decision. It might mean creating some safety nets for potential issues the decision may cause. Or, it could simply mean stepping up communication to ensure the team is prepared to address the next decisions coming their way. It is the responsibility of a leader to hone their decision-making skills to include addressing the potential of ripples.
Good leaders focus on making strong, well informed decisions that move the team in the direction to succeed with goals and objectives. Great leaders understand that current decisions always have ripples and work ahead of them by asking themselves these questions. Maybe that’s why Nick Saban has won 6 national championships.
- What things will be influenced or changed by the decision? Is it the resources, culture, or maybe the manufacturing flexibility?
- Develop a plan to address the challenges that will soon be coming so that the ripples do not overtake the team
- What additional areas need attention to ensure the decision builds strength for the group?
- Envision what things will look like in 6 months based on the decision. Start now to build the resources needed.
- What other other groups or functions will be touched by the decision? Will their work load change or the actual task change? Will there be any “unintended consequences”?
- Help them prepare so that the changes flow seamlessly.
Embrace the ripples and use them to your advantage. Don’t let them overtake and dampen your team. Hey, it worked in Monday night’s game.