Dear friends and family,
I hope you are doing well. I skipped a few of my letters in the past months because there were more important voices that I wanted you to hear about Iran and what people are fighting for. Christiane Amanpour puts it well in the following TED conversation:
I also have been so busy that sometimes I woke up in the early mornings enthusiastically and couldn’t wait for the day to start for me to go to my client companies to execute. Most of the projects I had were ninja projects with carte blanche from the CEO of the companies that I work with to manage or drive change.
From ERNYKA to Digikala to Post Bank, we’ve had dramatic positive/negative changes in our numbers, people and culture. That made me rethink “strategy.” The abstract word that makes everything possible! Here is my glimpse of what I found out:
The problem with strategic thinking
Many strategy execution processes fail because the firm needs something worth executing. One primary reason for the lack of action is that “new strategies” are often ineffective. An actual strategy involves a clear set of choices that define what the firm will do and what it will not do. Despite the immense efforts of hard-working people, many methods fail to get implemented because they need to represent a set of clear choices. With a clear strategic direction, any implementation process can succeed.
In times of great change, communicate your logic clearly, understand that implementing a strategy is not just a top-down process and make change your default.
When uncertain, think in the right direction but don’t push outputs too much.
Sometimes when the near future is in the dark, you gotta go back to your basic principles and stay in that direction. That defines new activities in the company that is creative. For example at Digikala to communicate better with the team we brought art to the company. Collaborating with art curators, we were surprised to see that the project inspired everyone and made impactful conversations.
Sometimes management is about stakeholder management!
It is also essential for an organization to maintain impactful communication with its stakeholders. This does not just fall into public relations. Everything a company thinks acts, and communicates is in a dialogue with its stakeholders. About 30-40% of a CEO’s time should be spent managing and communicating with the company’s stakeholders. The number goes higher when it comes to the board members. At Post Bank of Iran, we created a particular elite group to work on stakeholder management. Their job is to list, create content, hear from stakeholders, and respond to their needs.
There is so much to tell and so little space to write. I hope to hear from you more, and thank you, as always, for writing back to me. Stay positive and inspire on!
My best, as always,