As featured on MaltaCeos.mt here

Too often, managers are told what they need to achieve without the business context of why it is important to their organisation’s long-term strategy and vision.

COVID-19 has left no industry unchanged. Companies across the board have had to face disruptions, with some having to temporarily close their operation or cut down resources.

Some companies realised early on that the time was ripe to sensitise their operations to these new realities, whilst many took the time to question their current strategy and challenge the direction of their company.

Being forced to shift gears and reconsider strategy whilst adapting to a new market has emphasised the importance of agility like never before, particularly as the world grapples with COVID-19 variants, full or partial lockdowns and the uncertainty that this brings with it. Nonetheless, those companies who do so, no matter the challenges this poses on their operation, will soon find themselves in a better position to bounce back and adapt quicker to the new realities.

There is no better time, or better still, it has never been more vital to revisit strategies whilst drawing in those who will help you get there. These are none other than your company’s leadership team.

As the backbone of any corporate company, executive leadership are the first to digest the strategy, translate it and have it realised through their teams. Their participation at strategic level is therefore pivotal.

However, the middle management team are the ones who will help or hinder changing mindsets, lead growth, and ensure that the company’s direction is cascaded to all levels of its operation. Here are a few reasons why I continuously encourage my clients to have their middle management pause from their day-to-day tasks to take an active role in strategy setting.

Understanding the WHY

Often, managers are told what they need to achieve without the business context of why it is important to their organisation’s long-term strategy and vision. However, it is them who truly understand the environment they work in, and if briefed on the strategy, can be instrumental in building better plans while also developing their own capacity for strategic thinking.

Going a step ahead and having them involved in setting the strategy will bring them on board with your plans, as they understand the important part they play in the overall picture.

Put out multiple feelers – on competition and customer trends

Allowing middle managers the time to look externally and understand what the competition is doing and the everchanging needs of clients will not only future-proof your company, but also identify potential new business.

Remember, your team are the experts in their respective fields. With so much going on – be it international political developments, Brexit, the impact of COVID-19 and its aftermath, and developments in green legislation, empowering your team to keep informed will provide a constant stream of feedback to your set-up.

Fine-tune operations whilst trimming the fat

When middle management understand the company’s vision, it is in a better position to identify the areas of importance and consequently adapt their list of priorities accordingly. Whilst doing so, they can reduce tasks of no value. This will minimise costs whilst freeing up resources to welcome further prospective business.

A final word of advice

Allowing your managerial team to pause and focus on the company’s strategic direction requires time and should not be a one-off activity. Whilst it may not always be easy to delay tasks, the effects of not rethinking your company’s strategy may have detrimental effects in the future. Look for responsible, up-and-coming leaders within your organisation to shoulder the execution of tasks, leaving your leadership with the right headspace to think strategically. Balance is key. With every difficulty lies opportunity.