#2 Involve everyone from day one

Dogmas for making strategy work
This article was originally co-authored by

18 June 2018

Real strategic change happens only when employees feel motivated and truly engaged. And the most powerful way of building engagement is by inviting everyone in from day one in the process of designing the strategy. Also, too much strategy work results in missing out on what the organisation already knows and is capable of. So, bring key stakeholders, bright thinkers and impatient rule-breakers together. Co-create to shape future strategic options.

Real strategy builds a burning desire for change.


Dogma core ideas

We know for a fact that only 15% of employees worldwide are engaged at work. The estimated loss in productivity is approximately $7 trillion. Worried? You should be. We know it is hard work to build engagement and motivation. But it is doable. Theory says that two fundamentals must be in place. Firstly, employees must feel that what they do is important and meaningful. Secondly, employees must feel confident and competent to carry out their work. Voila! Engagement delivered.

Now let’s look at strategy. Strategy is about making big choices about the future. And big choices typically lead to substantial changes. Traditionally, strategy is made by a few senior executives and rolled out top-down. At the grand launch, a picture of a burning platform is painted, and the employees are told that they have to work in entirely new ways to stay on par with competition.

See the problem? It Is so evident, right? Our traditional textbook approach to making the most significant decisions for our organisations is brutally violating the most basic drivers of engagement. Strategy is not meaningful to most employees as they were not involved in making the choices. Strategy makes employees feel incompetent as we tend to point out all the things that have to change. It is no surprise that employees are actively disengaged.

Discover the dogmas for making strategy work

Dive into our booklet on the 8 dogmas you can use to create better strategies.


Sometimes when the going gets tough or big deals are in the making, secretive strategy-making might be the only feasible approach. We acknowledge that. But in our experience, 90% of all strategy processes are well-suited for reaping the benefits of building tremendous momentum for change while we are making the strategy. Not after big decisions have been made.

Time has come for tearing down the ivory tower of strategy development. You must involve everyone from day one. The payback of involving the organisation at scale will be a deep inner feeling of importance among those employees you involved and listened to. Moreover, building on the best of what is and what the organisation is confident in doing is the perfect platform for igniting a burning desire for change.

Co-creation at scale is the only truly feasible approach to making strategy work.


Dogma perspectives

We asked a few of our colleagues for their perspectives on not planning for the future, but designing it – here is what they said.

Malene Brinkland Hansen and René Bach Lundgaard on dogma #2.
Stig Albertsen and Niklas Leifelt on dogma #2.

Dogma key questions

  • Do we plan for broad and early involvement across the organisation in making the strategy? Or do we end up in the strategy ivory tower with little or no active participation of the organisation?
  • Do we involve employees in a truly open and appreciative way to get inspired? Or do we expect our own ideas to be superior to whatever comes out of the involvement by default?
  • Do we bring together the employees that have unconventional ideas and conflicting views on the future? Or do we handpick the ones who tend to confirm what we already know?
  • Do we build a desire for strategic change from day one and bring strategy to live bottom-up? Or do we wait too long inside the strategy ivory tower and push out the strategy top-down?

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