By David Okeke
In restructuring an organisation, which is more important – Strategy or People?
Most C-suites are oblivious that both are equally important, which tells why they spend resources to craft the best strategies but fail to nurture their people. An organisation without strategy is like a directionless enterprise, whereas an organisation without the right people has failure as its strategy.
Every organisation’s strategy must be implemented by its people. If the people are not motivated, the organisation’s mission will not be attained. Owning a good strategy without the right people is like having the best performing race car with no driver, it will not only not move, but cannot win a race. A lesser-performing vehicle with a driver can compete to win a race.
So, the question now is, who are the right people?
Contrary to popular opinion, the right people are not the ones with the best qualifications, more professional experience, or connections. In today’s workplace, anyone can learn the art of any profession, depending on the individual and work environment. Elon Musk’s SpaceX, the aerospace manufacturer and space transportation provider, successes have proved this point.
As recruitment exercises mainly focus on the individual – his qualifications, experience, connections, motivation, etc., most often, these exercises fail to understand that an organisation can create its caliber of employees with:
An engaging culture;
A deliberate inclusion of systemic processes (to foster growth, fairness, and empathy).
Hiring new talents seems easy in such countries as Nigeria due to its high labour supply market. Nonetheless, most executives tend to forget that a well-trained, properly motivated, and inspired staff will guarantee long-term growth better than the best-experienced staff.
Based on a recent study, the worst demotivating factor is a toxic work environment. It can produce profitability in the short term but fosters long-term failure of the firm to increase its market share. I once walked into a client staff meeting where the CEO was addressing his staff.
“Do not think you are that important. There are thousands with certificates and more experience than you. I will find your replacements without breaking a sweat!” he was saying. How possible is it that such employees will own the organisation’s strategy in this instance, and see through its growth?
In business, the principal attribute is loyalty to organisational strategy. Once achieved, the organisation grows organically and seamlessly. An organisation with a high churn rate cannot build its strategy, hence the reason why prominent consulting firms do not hire partners. Their partners are born from within the system.
Thus, reducing staff churn rate is an aspect of organisational health that most executives should begin to examine, as prioritising people over strategy has proven to revitalize and grow the fortunes of many organisations. An organisation-wide strategy developed with its people at the core will have more impactful successes over time.
David Okeke is a strategy expert with an MBA in Financial Management who has supported three Nigerian subnational states in crafting their Development Plans. He is the Managing Partner of Vansol Consulting and can be reached at email@example.com
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