Roy's Blog

April 25, 2011

What happens to your career when you are a translator?

Successful careers are built on the backs of the organization’s strategy. Those that execute it more effectively than others are quick to reach their personal goals.

These 4 actions will get you there.

1. Help others determine their own line of sight to the new strategy. Once you have determined what the new strategy means specifically to you, help others in the organization through the same process.
Everyone needs to understand the new things they will have to do and the CRAP they will have to dispose of. Unless this translation for all employees is done, the organization will be frozen in momentum management and no progress in the new direction will be achieved.
Get involved in organizing workshops with various departments in the company and explore a new blueprint for each that represents the new course for them to follow.


The role of translating the new strategy for various employee groups is one that rarely gets performed. It’s a difficult task as it required an intimate level of understanding of the strategy. You can’t drill a strategy down into individual action if you don’t truly understand it at a detailed level.
This is a failure of leadership.
Organizational leaders must dedicate much more of their time seeing that people treat this as a priority and hold them accountable. They should wander through the workplace asking people to clarify the top three things are they going to do to help deliver the new strategy and what dozen-or-so things they are going to give up.

Get the expectations hard wired into the performance planning process of the organization. It is the difference between an effective one where everyone is working in parallel to support a common purpose, and a dysfunctional one where people are working at odds with one another to deliver some things that are on strategy and other things that are not.
Synchronized outcomes release the power of execution - and competitive advantage; inconsistent outcomes zap the energy of the organization, encumber execution and impair competitive success.

2. Look up to the strategy to guide your daily calendar. The ultimate manifestation of direct line of sight is a calendar comprised only of activities relating to the outcomes you have deemed necessary for you to deliver the new strategy. If you can’t strategically relate a particular activity you plan to do on a given day, question why it is occupying your time.

Zero base your calendar and build it through the weeks and months ahead in the image of your strategy. If you are in a leadership position, ask to see the calendars of those reporting to you. Is each of them doing the things required of the new direction or are they continuing on as custodians of the past?

3. Communicate face to face with others in your organization as the most effective way of injecting the emotional component necessary to get people to believe and act. E-mail blasts to a broad distribution list, employee newsletters and other mass means of communication don’t work as effectively.
These mass communications vehicles preclude the ability for people to engage in a conversation to enhance their understanding of where the organization is going.

You need to press the flesh and make it matter by showing up in person, explaining the strategy and answering the tough questions. A virtual leader is not a substitute for a bricks and mortar one when it comes to discussing the future direction that an organization has decided to take.

Previously I mentioned the Infonet sessions I held as forums to communicate the company’s strategy to all employees. They required high levels of energy and were extremely time consuming, but what else could be more important? People in the organization need to understand where it is going and they have a right to challenge it if they are not convinced it is appropriate. You can’t capture their hearts and minds if you’re a ‘no show’.

4. When confronted by a business problem or issue, always assess it and talk about it with others from the perspective of your strategy. Create the strategic context for the discussion and then assess your options. What does your strategy suggest is the appropriate action to take?

Look up to your strategy and solve business problems in the context of it. It is an excellent way to increase understanding and awareness of your strategy and solidify you as a leader and the strategy hawk. I often find that people suddenly forget that they have set a new course in motion for the organization and they look for solutions to problems in the old strategic context.

The opposite is also true; people often don’t relate the visible changes being made in their organization to the new strategic direction that has been put in motion. They don’t get that the cause of the changes they are witnessing is the new strategy. Assume the role of connecting the dots for people in your organization. Reinforce that the changes that everyone is seeing are the result of your new strategy.


Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

  • Posted 4.25.11 at 10:59 am by Roy Osing
  • Permalink


To share your thoughts, please contact Roy.