Three known causes of premature human death are exposure to lead paint, asbestos, and PowerPoint presentations. The frightening reality is only two of these have been forcefully removed from our everyday lives. Many organizations still use PowerPoint presentations to communicate strategies with the hope of building understanding, while developing ownership and commitment. Some leaders even have the outlandish hope of creating enthusiasm and excitement. This is a flawed expectation, given the reality that people will tolerate the conclusions of their leaders, but will only act on their own. If people don’t change their conclusions about the business and their role in it, they will not change their actions to bring the new ideas to life. Dressing up the conclusions of leaders in a colorful deck does little to mobilize people to change.
People will tolerate the conclusions of their leaders, but will only act on their own
The key is creating a way for people to think together about the strategic imperatives for the business and challenging their current assumptions and beliefs about what will make it successful in the future. The role and goal is not to communicate new strategic acronyms, but to translate the strategic business buzzwords into shared meaning through dialogue, inquiry, and synthesis. Here are three tips that can help in avoiding the death-by-PowerPoint approach to strategy execution through people.
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