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The System to drive profits, employee involvement, and simplicity in the new world

Section 3

The Road to Level 7

In the last section, we talked about the need for everyone at all levels of the company to know what the organization’s goals are. In our work with companies, we have found that it is common for the CEO or Project Leader of the organization to have a very good idea of what his or her goals are, but further down the chain of command within an organization, the employees have a very different idea.

A useful experiment that you can try in your own company is to ask your employees what they think the top priorities of the business are, right now. Let’s say that you have identified your priorities as A, B, and C. Try a skip level review, going down yet another level of the company and surveying these employees about what the organization’s most important goals are.

This diagram shows you a typical response that the manager who asks this question might get:

A review like this can be a real eye opener.A May 2005 Harvard Business Review article reported, “Individuals’work activities often do not reflect the current strategic priorities of the business leader … and do not add to the bottom line.”
“Ninety-five percent of the workforce does not understand the strategy.”

Many CEOs have the right priorities, but the employees do not know what these priorities are—so the CEO does not reach his or her goals.

So for the purposes of example, let’s say that your review turns out to be something like the diagram above, and that your well-intentioned employees are working hard, but they are not headed in the right strategic direction to deliver what the business needs.
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