Looking up from the grindstone | Collective Next

Looking up from the grindstone

Have you ever heard the expression, “nose to the grindstone?” A guy named Erasmus came up with it (or popularized it) in 1557. The meaning of the phrase has changed over time, but there’s a reason it has resonated for more than 400 years: we all know the feeling of being so intensely focused on our work that we don’t bother to look up at what’s going on around us.

As we conclude our series of newsletters exploring the various layers that make up organizations, it’s clear when we look back that the “grindstone” mindset is pervasive and pernicious in ways that aren’t always obvious. And this is particularly true for the people in your organization who are doing the hard, day-to-day work that drives your business. It’s difficult to be excited or inspired or creative when the only thing you can see is that stupid grindstone. And it turns out that if EVERYONE is only focused on what’s right in front of them, the work itself only gets harder.

What connects EVERY layer?

Everyone in your organization needs—and wants—to be a part of the larger strategy. They want to understand why decisions are made. They want a clear sense of how they can contribute to the organization’s success. They want to be excited about that success. And, critically, everyone in the organization wants to grow and succeed within the structure of that organization.

When you consider your entire team, or what we refer to as the “wider organization,” you must include the folks who are creating strategy and setting overall objectives, as well as all the folks who aren’t usually involved in the strategic decisions. That’s a huge range of perspectives and bringing them together and getting them to head in the same direction is hard.

There are any number of solutions that can help realign the wider organization around strategic goals and objectives. And at CN, we’ve seen the powerful impact that these initiatives can have on the wider organization. Here are just a few.

Solutions for the Wider Organization

Collaborative Learning Maps™

How can you allow dozens—or even hundreds or thousands—of participants to explore the overall strategy in a consistent, engaging way? Strategic, collaborative learning maps are scalable engagement tools that facilitate insightful discussions, provide opportunities to give feedback and seek clarity, and connect participants to your team’s larger mission and purpose. Collaborative Learning Maps™ can be delivered in-person or virtually.

Strategy development toolkit

Coming together and working on a problem is one of the most rewarding things that a team can do together. These toolkits provide a mini, strategic “workshop in a box” that any leader can run with their team. These bespoke toolkits include slide decks, facilitator guides, worksheets, and capture templates, and a fully crafted agenda for the workshop.

Messaging campaigns

Sometimes you just need to get a message out to your team. And whether it’s a new initiative or a new strategic direction, you want that message to be clear, crisp, and (hopefully) engaging. Want to share the latest thinking from the leaders in your organization? Try a series of videos and audio postcards from those leaders. What about a podcast or a series of recorded interviews? Whatever the medium, CN is full of experts in the craft of conveying big ideas from the leaders that are most excited about them.

Let’s get started

Your organization’s strategy and mission are too important to be stuck in the heads of a few leaders. We’d love to hear about how you’re thinking about sharing your strategic vision with your wider organization. And we’re standing by to help.

Immersive Web Experiences / Alexion Culture Transformation Story

This external facing website is designed to showcase the culture transformation that Alexion underwent since 2017. The site utilizes an innovative scroll-based animation design, and also featured a cross-team effort that included creative, production, and digital teams.