The celery test: Why misaligned organizational strategies can hinder growth

Understanding why your organization does what it does can inspire change

Understanding why your organization does what it does can help improve your business strategy and development and better manage change.

You go to a conference where all types of people are giving you advice. One person says Reese’s is what your organization needs. Another says coconut water is the best decision their company ever made. Someone else speaks highly of Doritos, and the last person says celery is the greatest.

You go to the grocery store and spend an hour looking for items you learned about at the conference. Since you are a person of action, you want to implement these strategies immediately. You place them on the counter for the cashier to ring up.

Most likely, someone is waiting in line behind you. Imagine what he or she can gather about you from your purchases. You have an array of choices, some healthy and some not so much. Your message is convoluted.

Now, say you only buy celery and coconut water. Now, the message is clear you are health conscious. You spent less time and money at the grocery store plus delivered a clear message as to your WHY. While the other options are still available to you, you did not select them because that is not WHY you do something.

The junk food is the quick, short-term relief. Sure, Reese’s and Doritos are fine in moderation. It takes more work to rid your system of their effects, but small doses will not hurt anybody. However, if you make them a part of your marketing or organizational strategy, you are confusing everyone. Are you health conscious or not?

Not only knowing your WHY is important but also clearly stating your WHY is just as important.

Let’s take food out of the equation and enter a growing organization. This organization started out as a mom-and-pop remodeling company with only four employees. They put their signs out in the yards, put their names on a few billboards, and began working.

After a year of building a clientele and growing from four employees to eight, the owner decides to enter the service world. He sees the profits being greater, and the quick turnarounds on these small projects entice him.

He states, “No more big projects. They cause too much brain damage, and the money just is not there.” The owner hires three people to do the service work as well as one office employee to manage the scheduling and invoicing.

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