Member Menko Deroos Speaks: Want fresh direction? Get some fresh air.

The Challenge:

The case at hand was brought by the CEO of a technology company that saw huge opportunity to expand into the EU market. Yet, he was running into brick walls convincing his team to embrace this vision.

If you were in this situation, what would you do?

If I were in your position – and I have been twice – I’d invite the bigger leadership team to an offsite. Get your team out of their daily environment and give them the space to creatively support the process to get to a solution.

We both share a significant experience in the European market, and I agree with your strategic vision to expand there. However, your executive team doesn’t (want to) see the opportunity and that can be downright frustrating. Still, instead of ramming through your vision, I would counsel a different approach. Invite your executive team and critical second-tier players to an offsite meeting with the goal to jointly define a plan to get to the EU market. You may want to hire a process professional who can walk the team through a conversation, and to support a joint view, you can put yourself in a vulnerable position in which you can only ask questions. No fulminating. Once your top team is removed from their day to day concerns and duties, you may find they are much more open to considering systemic changes in business strategy. Especially if they see that they are taken seriously, you need to listen to them.

Don’t stop there. With the level of strategy shift you’re suggesting, you also want to get your board of directors’ buy-in since this is a fundamentally strategic business issue. I would suggest to start with a 360-degree review of yourself. Then present that to the board and ask for your own performance review in parallel. Assuming the review is in your favor, you will now have the board’s stamp of approval, plus the support of your larger team by discussing the results in combination with an improvement plan for the 1 or 2 critical issues with them. That is likely enough political capital to make the strategic recalibration.

And remember, whether this is a super success or glorious failure, celebrate it with your team. There are lessons to be learned from each scenario. Good luck.