A Counterintuitive Approach That Pays Off for Companies

A Counterintuitive Approach That Pays Off for Companies

Regardless of the economic climate, it pays dividends to assume the best of your team and the worst of your strategy. This article outlines how leaders can adopt the right mindset to drive growth and ensure that their businesses can withstand disruption.

As leaders jump into 2023, they’re asking themselves these two questions: “Do we have the right strategy?” and “Do we have the right team?”

Surprisingly, the answers don’t really matter. Regardless of how well your business is – or isn’t – performing, the best approach is to treat your strategy as if it’s wrecked and your team as if it’s packed with superstars. 

Why? Even the best strategy is vulnerable – eventual failure is only a matter of time and competition. Just ask the owner of any record store. Being in a constant state of fear and paranoia over the adequacy of your approach is a very healthy place to be.

With teams, it’s the other way around. Treating your team as sub-par becomes self-fulfilling. It leads to low morale and underperformance. Every team contains at least some gold that will shine through when leadership champions them.  

Why it’s so important to champion your team

Take the current turmoil at Twitter. New CEO Elon Musk is certainly following the Silicon Valley mantra of “move fast and break things” but not in a good way. His demands and ultimatums on staff have conveyed a message of “this team stinks”, resulting in predictable disillusionment and mass resignations. To be fair, it’s too early to declare his approach a complete failure: Let’s see whether Musk is able to revamp Twitter with what’s left of his team. 

Having a great team can cover up a multitude of sins. Netflix is a shining example of a company that’s thrived on the strength of its winning culture despite a litany of strategic missteps, ranging from its proposed, then killed, “Project Griffin” set–top box to the “Qwikster” debacle when it backtracked on plans to separate its DVD mailing and streaming services.

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Of course, there are a lot of people who think the exact opposite. They see corporations as evil, rapacious entities and the people who lead them as sociopathic greedheads. In that narrative, CEOs are just the most aggressive narcissists who managed to crawl their way to the top.

I thought CEOs should be the former. And I was beginning to worry that they were the latter. But I started to question my own assumptions. And I now realize that, in most instances, the truth is neither of those narratives.

Read full article on CEO North America.

Dev Patnaik


Dev Patnaik is the CEO of Jump Associates, the leading independent strategy and innovation firm. He’s a board member of Conscious Capitalism. Dev has been a trusted advisor to CEOs at some of the world’s most admired companies, including Starbucks, Target, Nike, Universal and Virgin.