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Wednesday, February 28, 2024

The Deceptive Art of Strategic Tension and Problems that Comes with It.

Stage 1: Innovation, Expertise, Ethics and Pioneers

Within the corporate environment, a journey of steady advancement unfolds in a company. Here, individuals driven by genuine intentions to innovate and create, possessing both technical expertise and cultural finesse, find themselves grappling with the complexities of corporate strategies early in their careers. As they strive to build sustainable processes, these talented minds navigate the intricate intersection where their virtuous aspirations meet the evolving realm of corporate strategies. Balancing both individual and team-oriented goals, they embark on an exploration of the corporate tapestry, seeking harmony between personal ambitions and the collective drive for progress. However, at this stage, the bigger picture often remains elusive, as there are individuals positioned above, simultaneously protecting and keeping these emerging talents in the dark about the broader landscape. While feasting on the coming fruits of labor.

Stage 2: Emerging Pioneers and Settled Veterans

Fueled by determination and forward momentum, these individuals forging ahead often perceive their more experienced yet settled colleagues as individuals who have stagnated, lacking ambition and the thirst for exploration and innovation. In the midst of their own pursuits, the contrast with those perceived as more complacent becomes pronounced, creating a tension between the relentless drive for progress and the inertia of established figures. This contrast fuels more determination; a desire to be recognized as better investments—individuals driven by a relentless pursuit of growth and innovation, eager to prove their value and expect compensation.

Stage 3: Linear Progress

During this stage, linear growth becomes apparent due to the determined efforts of these individuals pushing ahead while being somewhat held back in nature with cultured norms and personal values. Incremental improvements and innovations occur at a steady rate, reflecting the impact of focused endeavors. However, a notable characteristic is the absence of a comprehensive view. The gaps between technical expertise and management strategies begin to surface, divide between ground-level proficiency and expectations of organizational goals.

Stage 4: Linear to Exponential Growth

As linear growth solidifies into the norm, leadership anticipates a shift towards exponential progress. The emphasis on technical expertise takes a back seat as a new directive emerges: disrupting the status quo to induce tension and heightened the results. However, identified blockers to this surface in the form of entrenched cultured norms and personal values. The clash between the established way of operating and the demand for disruption becomes a focal point.

Stage 5: Leveraging Opposing Values and Weaknesses for Growth

In a strategic maneuver, individuals with exact opposite values and belief systems are strategically integrated into each major team. This intentional clash not only targets values but, at times, challenges established norms of teamwork relationships. These newcomers often lack the technical expertise traditionally valued within the organization. However, the management rewards this disruptive behavior by endowing these individuals with additional power over their peers. The aim is to apply pressure through these personas, extracting results by leveraging the tension within the teams. Moreover, these newcomers keenly identify weaknesses within the existing structures, exploiting them as pressure points to further fuel their disruptive impact.

Stage 6: Crossroads and The Illusion of Exponential Growth

By implementing this strategic clash, the pioneers find themselves confronted with three distinct options. The first involves grappling with the mounting pressure and delivering results at any cost. Alternatively, they can choose to sever ties with the organization altogether. A third, perhaps more unsettling option, is to morph into what they initially resented: settling into stagnation and blending into the background. How individuals navigate these choices varies. Regardless of the path taken, loyalty becomes a scarce commodity, and frustration intensifies. While the initial progression may showcase exponential growth, it soon proves unsustainable, particularly as technical experts increasingly opt for the latter two avenues, contributing to a potential erosion of the organization's foundational strengths and values.

Stage 7: Perceived Success, Setbacks, and the Cycle of Change

While this strategy yields immediate results and allows leading individuals to achieve their short-term goals, its lack of sustainability becomes evident over time. The lack of expertise in critical areas gives rise to unforeseen problems, causing the emerging leaders (once the disruptors), to grapple with maintaining the desired growth rate. As they struggle to navigate the challenges, misjudgments and harmful decisions are made, leading to a gradual decline. Eventually, these individuals fade into the history, and the company reverts to its pre-strategic clash state. The cycle then repeats, underscoring the impermanent nature of this disruptive approach.