Strategy Is Everyone's Job

Ever heard of Not My Job (NMJ) syndrome? There are some particularly hilarious examples of this on the internet…


This is an extreme example of what can happen when people are focused on the details of a specific task, rather than connected to a bigger purpose or outcome. Because as far as the research goes, that’s what people are looking for in their work – a sense of meaning and connection to purpose.

Strategy is everyone’s job.

It’s a bit like a rowing crew, if everyone isn’t rowing in the same direction, it’s very hard to build momentum and get results. Your teams know this too – 70% of workers surveyed in a 2016 BetterWorks sponsored HBR report believed that a lack of alignment prevented them from fulfilling organisational objectives.  

“People at work are thirsting for context, yearning to know that what they do contributes to a larger whole.” – Daniel H. Pink, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

Strategy shouldn’t be a pretty but abstract document that sits around a board table. Setting and communicating a big picture direction is a senior responsibility, sure – but making strategy meaningful and delivering on change is all about everyday decisions and actions.  

Progress toward a meaningful goal is the number one motivator for employees. People want to know how to prioritise, how their work makes a difference to the big picture, and that they will be recognised in ways that reflect that. Making progress toward big picture goals is satisfying – it enhances culture, boosts retention and underpins organisational performance.

Quick tips on how to make strategy everyone’s job:

·        TELL – Use plain, consistent, shared language and be clear about priorities and expectations. Repeat it over and over again. Make strategy visible.

·        ASK – Connect with good questions - what changes will be needed in your team to make this real? What will people need from you and each other to support change?

·        SUPPORT – Remove friction and walk the talk! Celebrate short term wins and reward alignment with strategy – instead of short-term, conflicting KPIs.

Is there a Not My Job approach to strategy in your organisation?

Stay tuned for more on this as I delve deeper into the world of strategy 101 and work on my mission to build strategy capability across community facing organisations.

PS – Do you have a burning strategy question? To celebrate the upcoming launch of my new Strategy 101 programme, I am running a FREE Q&A video series, which I will publish on LinkedIn (and link you all to the following week) every Wednesday.

Send your questions through and follow along to hear what other people are asking.

Til next week