How Small Fly-By Decisions Can Induce Chaos in your Organization

By Erica Olsen

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How Small Fly-By Decisions Can Induce Chaos in your Organization

While it’s obvious to see the impact of large-scale strategic change, less emphasis is placed on the importance of thoughtful decision making when it comes to the smaller strategic decisions in your business. It’s quite easy to overlook the lasting effect smaller changes inflict upon organizations during the planning and execution process. Sometimes, these smaller changes have a butterfly effect – seemingly little change causes a chain of events that result in a large-scale alteration.

Using strategy to inflict change across an organization isn’t a new idea. But, you’ll need to be careful about what your changing and why, even with the small stuff. It’s easy to sit around the board-room table and make a fly-by change, but you may not fully understand its implications until the hurricane hits your organization.

Positive Change

The most obvious and desirable impact of making strategic changes is to achieve a positive result. Sometimes, even shifting a small day-to-day task or reporting workflow make a huge difference to your organization.

A perfect example of making a positive strategic change is changing the way your team reports on performance metrics on a weekly basis. Getting hyper-focused on managing the performance of KPIs and goals will impact the health of your organization.

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This change may slightly alter the workflow of a few members of your team, but allow your entire organization to see what actions are impacting your bottom line growth and what’s hindering your progress.

Sure, it might impact the time of a few members of your team, but it’s empowering your entire organization to make better business decisions. Small change – big positive impact.

Negative Change

While these are less obvious, making haste decisions or fly-by changes during the planning process can negatively impact your organization and employees. It’s easy to sit around a table and make these types of quick decisions – but are you always thinking about how it might truly effect your organization?

An example here might be deciding to create a new product without fully considering the impact on your existing product portfolio. While it might be easy to create a new product to fill a void in your market or business, not researching or considering how it might affect your staff’s capacity, your current sales strategy, or other downstream implications could be dangerous to your business. In fact, it could introduce sheer chaos.

What might look good on paper or sound good in a meeting could seriously impact your organization for the worse. Small change – huge, unintended consequences.

So, before you flap your wings and change the winds in your organization, consider how each decision impacts your business.

Change, no matter how small, needs to be well-thought out and strategic. Everyone is guilty of making fly-by decisions (including ourselves), but seriously consider how strategic changes, no matter how small, could interrupt your business.



Erica Olsen

Erica Olsen is the COO and a co-founder of OnStrategy. She has developed the format and the user interface for the award-winning OnStrategy on-line strategic management system. In addition, she is the author of Strategic Planning Kit for Dummies, 2nd Edition. Erica has developed and reviewed hundreds of strategic plans for public and private entities across the country and around the world. She is a lecturer at University of Nevada Reno and University of Phoenix. She holds a BA in Communications and an MBA in International Management.

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