Aligning your strategy and operational routines to your environment can produce sustainable success for your organization
Meirc Training & Consulting
George Digweed, the celebrated clay-shooting champion, claimed a record-breaking 21st world title win earlier this year in Madrid. More remarkable is the fact he assembled his tally over 4 decades; a coup of consistency unprecedented in the history of sport. In a mentally demanding discipline that requires the contestant to shoot a moving target in mid-air, Mr Digweed draws his line of vision across both ends of a shotgun barrel and a clay target – exacting perfect alignment- before pulling the trigger. The clay is reduced to dust, leaving in its wake an undisputable claim of execution excellence. Digweed has achieved an impeccable state of alignment.
Could sheer talent or the perfection of a simple eye-hand routine alone provide the ingredients behind Digweed’s supernatural streak of success? Or are there more replicable lessons for the rest of us mortals to model? Perhaps the answer is there are some practical takeaways from this feat, and high on that list is Digweed’s knack for aligning his shooting patterns with his personal vision, philosophy, lifestyle, social circles and broader surroundings. By having every single aspect of his life virtually point at that clay pigeon, Digweed probably couldn’t miss even if he wanted to. It is success of the rare sustainable breed.
Parallels can be drawn with organizations distinguished by excellence in performance. While operating in mature overcrowded markets, the likes of Emirates and Gillette (now part of Procter & Gamble) are able to hold on to their positions at the vanguard despite the cut-throat nature of their respective industries. What enables these companies to sustain a leadership position is not only their ability to achieve alignment between their strategy, operations and environment, but also an inherent flair to recalibrate whenever alignment is disturbed by change. That change may arise from within the organization, such as a change in strategy, scope of operations, organizational design or modus operandi; it may also arise from the external environment in the form of changes in the competitive landscape, technology or consumer tastes.
In this article, we provide a 4-step approach for modelling your organization on George Digweed’s recipe for success. In Step 1, we emphasize the importance of clarity in your raison d’être and in knowing exactly what your target is. Step 2 stresses the need to understand your own capabilities and to ensure that they place your target within your shooting range. Step 3 emphasizes the role of alignment and shooting straight. Finally, Step 4 highlights the importance of measuring performance and continuously recalibrating your routines in the face of change.