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Strategic Drift - When Leaders Quiet Quit the Strategy

When leaders aren't fully bought in and aligned, they quietly fail to implement the strategy and the company experiences strategic drift

By Pepper Foster

In the leadership team meeting everybody agreed that it’s a great strategy, so why isn’t it being implemented? We’ve all heard of employees quiet quitting their jobs, but the reason so many companies experience strategic drift is that leaders often quiet quit the strategy. For strategies to be implemented and goals to be realized, everybody needs to be rowing in the same direction. So, even passive resistance from a couple of disenchanted leaders can kill progress. 

Often, the reason those leaders resist or ‘quiet quit the strategy’ is because of a failure of the entire leadership team to encourage and embrace productive conflict. Leaders leave meetings still harboring unvoiced disagreements and discomfort. And, you can’t hope to achieve strategic alignment if people aren’t allowed or encouragd to voice their unease. The only way forward is to get those concerns on the table and engage with each other in productive debate. To work together to collectively address and ideally solve the risks, issues, and unease being voiced. 

And then, everybody must leave the room committed to the new direction and actions necessary to implement it, irrespective of whether they agree or disagree with it. Everybody must agree to AC/DC - Agree & Commit or Disaagree & Commit. Nodding or saying yes in the meeting and then passively resisting the necessary changes is tantamount to treason. If you can’t win the argument in the meeting, and you can’t commit to the new direction, then maybe this isn’t the right organization for you?

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