This week’s riff:

As a leader of your business, there are some tasks that you cannot outsource. Establishing the values of your organization, developing the strategic direction and goals of your business, engaging and aligning your people with the strategy and values, determining your big priorities and ensuring their delivery and being a symbol of the organization are all tasks that you can’t simply hand over to others.

And, apart from one of those tasks, most leaders willingly take on the responsibility for each of these actions.

So, which task is the odd one out? Well, many CEOs and executive teams seem happy to hand over the development of their strategic direction to third parties. Most times, they give the job to external ‘expert’ consultants, but I’ve also seen occasions where they ask an internal team to do the hard yards and report back to them with recommendations.


There’s only one problem with outsourcing strategy. It doesn’t work.

Engagement and ownership starts with involvement. It doesn’t matter how polished and logical your consultant’s presentation is, if you’re not involved in the development of your company’s strategy, you will simply have less emotional attachment and commitment to it. And leading the delivery of any strategy – with the inevitable issues and barriers you will encounter along the way – requires a ton of commitment from the leadership team.

Whenever I work on strategies with my clients, we do so in true partnership.  They are responsible for most of the ‘blocking and tackling’ and coming up with the goals, options and decisions. My job is to provide structure, process, ideas and challenge. But it is not to do a job that should never be outsourced.

I am currently developing an exciting new strategy product to help leadership teams with this critical task. I’ll be sharing more in the coming weeks. But in the meantime ask yourself this question: How far has your strategy been developed by the leadership team, and what is the level of executive officer commitment to its delivery?


Off The Record: My Way by Frank Sinatra

This classic, written by Paul Anka and others. This is the perfect song to express the importance of doing the important things yourself and not simply following the crowd.

For what is a man, what has he got?

If not himself, the he has naught

To say the things he truly feels

And not the words of one who kneels


© Stuart Cross 2017. All rights reserved.