5 Windows of Opportunity

Published: October 19, 2017

Strategic plans age quickly. Conditions often shift within months of consensus and clarity. There are many drivers of changing priorities: talent, technology, financial pressure, acquisition, and loss to name a few. Any change opens a window of opportunity to rethink direction. Consider these 5 key places to invest energy following a disruption on the team.

Rethink leadership roles

The status quo tends to repeat itself when pain becomes normal. Changing roles, responsibilities, and relationship boundaries seems harder than the burden of staying the same. Although scary, the chance to hear fresh perspectives and generate new leadership energy may, in the end, fuel the system.

Reboot mission, values, and vision

Even if the edit is minor, the exercise of clarifying the “why,” “what,” and “how” of organizational direction establishes guidepost for the team’s next destination. Beyond crafting words to describe the team’s vision, regularly share stories of interactions with clients and colleagues that bring it to life.

Reexamine strategic priorities

Most of us feel like there’s not enough time in the day to accomplish all our goals. The needs seem larger than the resources. Triage is an effective way to break down the enormity of the task into manageable, bite-sized pieces. Whatever priorities clamor for the most attention, there’s always a first step followed by a second.

Reassign action accountabilities

Insight without action is merely an academic exercise. Once the triage plan is clear, answer the questions “WHO will do WHAT by WHEN?” and “HOW will we track our progress?” Once everyone on the team has taken ownership of their accountabilities, move forward together with transparency.

Renew commitment to the team

Alignment with leadership, vision, strategic priorities, and action accountabilities is the foundation for team trust, collaboration, innovation, and healthy management of change. Anything less than engaged commitment subtracts from the wellness of the team since time, energy, and resources get consumed in managing disengagement. Ask each teammate to verbalize their commitment to the new direction and follow it up with words and actions that prove the integrity of their promise.

These windows of opportunity open and close quickly. It takes another meaningful change to generate another cycle of renewal. It is okay if you miss your chance. The team already knows how to endure this pain. Staying the same while the world moves forward will eventually open a new window.  

Photo of Steve Ritter, the co-founder of The Center for Team Excellence

Steve Ritter

Steve Ritter is an internationally recognized expert on team dynamics whose clients include Fortune 500 companies, professional sports teams, and many educational organizations. He is on the faculty of the Center for Professional Excellence at Elmhurst University where he earned the President's Award for Excellence in Teaching. Steve is the former Senior Vice President, Director of Human Resources at Leaders Bank, named the #1 Best Place to Work in Illinois in 2006 and winner of the American Psychological Association's Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award in 2010. Steve provides ongoing workplace culture consultation to many thriving companies including Kraft Foods, Advocate Health Care, Kellogg's, the Chicago White Sox, AthletiCo, and Northwestern Mutual Financial Network.