Flexibility and a Strong Core
During a recent conversation with a personal fitness trainer, I asked about the foundations of an effective regimen and to help achieve a high level of physical fitness. In addition to free weights and cardio workouts (long a staple of mine) the response was simple and direct: flexibility and a strong core.
I get the flexibility part (at least, I thought I did!). Despite being a long-time runner, stretching before and after has always been a needed and mostly overlooked part of my routine. I quickly learned that flexibility training is a whole different thing and, when done correctly and with great patience, can lead to greater balance and more effective and enjoyable workouts.
Core strength generally means “strength in the middle” with a special focus on hips, and abdominals (hello, planks!).
While these two simple ideas can lead to better fitness and a greater sense of well-being, they can also be a useful metaphor for organizational success.
When leading senior teams through strategy and planning sessions, the aim is to create a well-thought-out plan which will provide direction in pursuit of the mission and the long-term vision. While there are specific tactics embedded in the plan, there is also an emphasis on flexibility; that is the ability to spot and pursue opportunities that may be unexpected but nevertheless align with the strategic intent of the enterprise.
Flexibility built into the strategic plan is not there to excuse away a scattered, unfocused approach to execution. It is a way to anticipate and allow for the consideration of unanticipated opportunities which may advance the organization’s key objectives.
Strength in the middle is a useful way to reference the degree to which organizations emphasize growing and developing middle managers and supervisors. Often overlooked, a strong organizational core is vital to building and sustaining a winning culture. In fact, studies reveal that when asked to name factors which contribute most to employee engagement, satisfaction and retention, team members rate strong, effective supervisors and managers at or near the top of the list.
Investing in the development of your “organizational core” is likely to pay big dividends for years to come. Programs like the Graphic Communications Leadership Institute (GCLI) can be a great way to start (cgleadershipinstitute.com).
Focused, flexible planning supported by a strong core of well-trained supervisors and managers give organizations a distinct, durable competitive advantage; one that is difficult for the competition to replicate.
To get started on your organization’s “fitness plan” contact me at email@example.com
Joseph P. Truncale, Ph.D., CAE, is the Founder and Principal of Alexander Joseph Associates, a privately held consultancy specializing in executive business advisory services with clients throughout the graphic communications industry.
Joe spent 30 years with NAPL, including 11 years as President and CEO. He is an adjunct professor at NYU teaching graduate courses in Executive Leadership; Financial Management and Analysis; Finance for Marketing Decisions; and Leadership: The C Suite Perspective. He may be reached at Joe@ajstrategy.com. Phone or text: (201) 394-8160.