Create awareness of reality through bottom-up strategy

Tim Casasola’s post Create awareness of reality through bottom-up strategy points to an issue that we often see in teams—the work that they are doing is disconnected from the company’s core strategy:

There is often a difference between what an organization says its strategy is and what customer/project teams do on a day-to-day. When this dissonance is present, customer/project teams share with the org that their reality isn’t aligned with the organization’s vision. “It’s great that we want to pursue this new customer segment, but most of our engineers are focused on improving the experience of our current customer segment… and we’re far from where we want to be there.”

And yet, the org still says they have a “strategy.” The org turns a blind eye when customer/project teams describe their reality and relies on its existing narrative when feeling challenged.

The organization needs to be aware of when this dissonance takes place. So that they can learn from it, and come up with an actionable strategy.

Tim points to John Cutler’s “Bet Up” activity as a useful exercise to make this disconnect clear:

This seems like a really useful exercise for teams to undertake. It might also be really interesting to ask the executive team to fill out row 4 of the above, and see how their answers differ from what the teams come up with. Exposing a big strategy mismatch in such a clear way could be a really powerful tool to move the organization in a direction where a team’s day-to-day work is reflected in the overall product strategy.