System initiatives always develop against a backdrop of the organizational landscape. The recognition that “something must be done” has a gestation period with a certain yin and yang. On one hand is the state of the current systems . . . How limiting are they to the company meeting its goals? On the other hand is the desire and capacity of the organization to embrace change . . . Is it up to the challenge?
If you are in a leadership role responsible for charting the course, you have to decide how far into the horizon you want to plant your vision. Seeking to leapfrog the organization forward – reflective of dramatic change – has the lure of maximizing the benefits gained from the pain that inevitably comes with these changes. It may also be the only way to instill an appropriate degree of importance to the initiative, thereby securing resources and mindshare. A call to arms, of sorts, driven by a recognition of the possible.
But it has its risks. A robust vision can be overwhelming and intimidating. Those that hold the purse strings may judge it a poor bet, especially within an organization that has never demonstrated excellence in that arena. Incremental change has the comfort of being more acceptable and manageable. People can more easily see their way from point A to point B. But unless the wheels are falling off the bus, a vision that doesn’t seem transformational may also lead decision makers to ask “Why bother?”.
There’s no single right answer. The situation will dictate. You will have to have an appreciation of both perspectives whether your propensity is to dream big or stay grounded. But what factors will weigh most heavily as you develop your strategy recommendations?