Gabazira's blog

The Effectiveness-Lab

Blending Leadership and Strategy OV’s

This blog concludes the Strategy Organisational Vital (OV) sub-series. We hope that many of you have and will continue to use the sub-series not as a ’strategy management’ but as a ’strategy management bursting’ guide.

We need to look at strategy management through a different lens. Strategy ought to be less linear, after all, it’s no longer a black and white affair. It’s not something that can be applied to prop up business, without the other three OV’s [leadership, Design (architecture), and People]. Like water requires the combination of hydrogen and oxygen to sustain its state of water, bionically balanced entities require various combinations of the four OV’s to remain viable.

Blending Leadership and Strategy OV’s; two to go

With the Strategy OV, we are at stage two of the four-step bionic entity OD. continuum – first was Leadership, Strategy being the second – we will delve into the third OV Design (architecture) in the next sub-series and later on, tackle the fourth OV, People

It’s vital to understand, at every stage of this Effective organization series, the integrationist tendency of the bionically balanced entity.  In this particular case, the interplay between the Leadership and Strategy OV’s and how it aids signature value addition.

As discussed throughout this Effective organization series, like the human body, the bionic entity functions optimally when all the vital elements (vitals in humans) are operating optimally. The Effectiveness lab has discussed the four organization-vitals (OV’s) that are required to achieve sustainable organizational bionic balance:

  1. Leadership
  2. Strategy
  3. Design (Architecture)
  4. People

All the four OV’s need various levels of orchestration, moreover from a common pedestal, for them to support the attainment of the ideal state of bionic-balance at the organization. The orchestration is a function of sustained and effective leadership in combination with other OV’s. It’s a systems management affair

The premise behind the Effectiveness lab’s ‘bionic entity’ OD model is that sustainable signature value is attained when all the four OV’s work in sync, with varying oscillation and OD environments. For example, leadership alone, without strategy won’t get firms far. On an even more important note, even when both leadership and strategy are at work, but independently, signature value creation tends to remain elusive. The whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

The coming together of the Leadership and Strategy OV’s:

It’s implied above that none of the four OV’s on their own, can deliver bionic balance at the organization. Bionic balance only accrues when OV’s are intertwined. Leadership requires good strategy, good strategy requires good OD. design, and good OD. design requires people with the right skills and competencies.

The chain is only as strong as its weakest link. One disconnect, in the grand scheme of bionic balance, results in bionic-imbalance. The domino effect of such imbalance, even when it stems from the failure of one vital, can be damaging to organizations. An organization may hire a good CEO but without the right strategic proficiency at the: organization, team, and individual levels, the super CEO will fail. The case of Uber still rings in our ears

We have shared in the Effective organization series some examples of bionically imbalanced firms in East Africa and the Globe – Uber, Kenya Airways, Nakumatt, and Crane bank. We concluded from our analysis of the four companies that organizations that fail to adapt to an integrationist approach in the management of their ‘insides,’ are vulnerable to collapse.

All the four entities above showed different levels of bionic imbalance. Also, the four organizations had one thing in common – that while certain OV’s were working okay, others did not. The result was a sub-optimal organization that didn’t sustainably create value.

Overall, it was observed that:

  • Leadership was a primary organizational vital – and the two organizations that had it (Uber and Nakumatt), were struggling but surviving. Those without proper leadership (KQ and Crane Bank) were on or almost on their knees
  • Organizations that didn’t do well in the strategy OV had dug deep into their coffers to sustain operations. They were on their way to bankruptcy and had committed resources without the assurance on returns. The lack of an effective strategy is like a painter doing their work in the dark
  • And finally, turn-around was likely when one or two of the OV’s, especially leadership was assured.

Relevant to this particular blog is the case of Kenya airways where the Board had appointed a new CEO, but that wasn’t enough. The new CEO needed the right strategy management capabilities on the Kenya Airways Board, Corporate suite and Staff for the turnaround to happen – it has to be a combination of Leadership and Strategy. We certainly wish Kenya Airways the very best and can’t wait to see how well it manipulates all the four OV’s to return to OD. health

We will now move to discuss matters Design (architecture) in this Effectiveness Organisation series. See you next week





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About Me

Apollo B. Gabazira is an Ugandan OD. junkie fascinated by matters that render organisations/individuals effective or not. He blogs on effective leadership and management. He is a devoted green-farmer and breeds the Ayrshire cow at Nakabugu, Luuka district, Uganda. Apollo is quite effective at what he chooses to do.


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