nowing that the future of a unit or a project depends on what the leaders are doing today, they should control their actions consciously and strategically. The experience we have gathered throughout the support of management and project teams and during many consulting projects shows, that the usual practice differs significantly from the approach outlined above.
The pressure of current affairs and daily operational problems misleads the managers. Very often they lose their strategic focus and do not see any possibilities to think outside the box. Companies and executives tend to get caught up in dysfunctional circuits now and then.
As dysfunctional circuits we identify mostly unconscious establishment and maintenance of conditions and circumstances which are perceived as unsatisfactory. Sometimes these cycles become negative spirals. And it might happen that all efforts managers initiate do not lead to a stabilization of the system but actually to a worsening of conditions. One can frequently observe that the doers are no longer aware of the interdependency and interrelatedness of all factors involved. People sometimes simply do not recognize or neglect them.
Gain speed by slowing down
How can you stipulate intelligent interventions that allow the identification of such spirals? A Strategic Time-Out is an effective method. It is a possibility to consciously counteract important topics which might otherwise only become apparent accidentally, through a conflict or even in the outbreak of a crisis. We must create opportunities, appropriate timeframes and allow room to become able to challenge the situation.
We organize and facilitate Strategic Time-Outs, with a usual duration of 1-2 days, for some of our customers on a regular basis, even in addition to a fixed, scheduled meeting calendar.
To be quick and fast in a time of increasing acceleration, it paradoxically is important to slow down and interrupt everyday routines. If the time gained is used to reflect upon issues of basic orientation, the overall intent of the organization, and to update the strategic orientation, then every company will have good chances to survive in a challenging environment.