It’s a new year. Many of you are now executing your strategic implementations. It doesn’t matter if your initiative is a blue ocean shift or a more traditional red ocean implementation you can take steps to make sure your ideas move forward.
The companies that execute are the ones that feature a workforce, stakeholders, and a public that are all on the same page. In the end, companies, whether large or small have to harness the cooperative attitudes and behaviors of all people involved in the company.
If you’re a small business, this cooperation may come from a spouse or partner. If you’re a large business, it may come from your board and employees. No matter what, to successfully implement strategic change, you have to have buy-in.
So how to get that buy-in?
In a perfect world, you would have involved stakeholders from the start of the planning process. If you’ve not done a great job of doing so, blue ocean strategists use a process that may help.
It’s called Fair Process. Carrots and sticks used traditionally by demonstrative leaders and managers won’t do the trick when it comes to real strategic shifts. So what is fair process? Its roots are based on procedural justice. In the 70s, John W. Thibaut and Laurens Walker combined their interest in the psychology of justice and the study of process and coined the term procedural justice. Follow me here; their research found that participants in the legal system and outside the system were most interested in the justice of the process through which an outcome was produced. Even when decisions didn’t go their way, they were content with outcomes if they felt the process they experienced was fair.
The authors of Blue Ocean Strategy found over their years of work that the same was true of strategic shifts, especially the ones where significant change was called for. The term they coined was “Fair Process”.
Fair process is the managerial expression of procedural justice theory. When a fair process exists, participants feel as though transparency and a level playing field are authentic. Their buy-in into their role in the strategic implementation or blue ocean shift is far more commonplace.
In blue ocean parlance, there are three principles of fair process.
Engagement, explanation, and clarity of expectation. Isn’t it interesting how the most profound management and leadership principles are easy to understand. Since we’re humans, we struggle nonetheless.
Engagement means involving people from the start. Making their voice heard and allowing them to contribute to collective wisdom.
Explanation means that everyone involved and affected should understand why final decisions were made.
Expectation clarity suggests that after the strategy is set, all parties involved are communicated with to the extent they know exactly what the new state of play is, including their new roles, performance expectations, incentives, and penalties for failure.
Why are these issues so vital to your success? It’s simple. Most people seek recognition of their value as humans, not just labor. Even the most callused types who claim they’re just there to cash a check will find their life enhanced by management and leadership who includes them in the fair process river of communication. Professionals in the field of emotional recognition theory have proven when fair process is in play, people share, work harder, enjoy their work more, and accomplish far more than those who haven’t experienced fair process.
If you’ve failed to leverage fair process into your strategic initiatives or major shifts in your company’s direction and are experiencing push back from employees or other stakeholders, it should come as no surprise.
If you need help bringing fair process into the implementation, don’t hesitate to discuss your hurdles with the Blue Ocean Strategist. Schedule a complimentary 30-minute call with Sherman Mohr, The Blue Ocean Strategist by clicking here.