Square Pegs in Round Holes. It’s a pretty common cliche with lots of truth and wisdom behind it. It never works well when we jam a square peg in a round hole, just creates another roadblock to growth.
So why is it that leaders try to do exactly that when executing strategy within their organizations?
Here’s how it happens: A leader notices someone else’s intriguing or successful strategy and says “me too.” Or they’ve noticed a change in the market for their business, sees what everyone else is doing to respond, and follows the crowd. Either way, they do it without considering their own organization’s context for succeeding at it. Does it match their strengths, their current technological capabilities, their values, all of which their previous success has been built upon?
In start-ups it’s a bit different: having developed a great idea or advantage, the leaders take the idea forward without considering the skills and expertise needed or the values that come into play in building the company, assuming the great idea will carry the day and overcome the deficiencies.
I liken both situations to jamming a square peg into a round hole. Painful and hard to do. And definitely not scalable.
In existing businesses, lead from what got you to the table in the first place (values, strengths, abilities) in building strategy or responding to market conditions.
At start-ups, determine the strengths and values and abilities needed to multiply your grand idea and bring them into your organization as you add people to your team.
Otherwise you’ll just be creating additional roadblocks to growth. There is enough in the way at it is, you don’t need to create more.