Without Proper Perspective You May Be Cutting Down The Wrong Jungle!

Stephen Covey in the “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” uses an illustration where three distinct roles in an organization – producers, managers and leaders – are cutting their way through a jungle.  The first category of workers, the producers, are the problem solvers – they are the one’s cutting through the undergrowth in the jungle and clearing it out.  Following the producers are the managers and are the ones “sharpening their machetes, writing policy and procedure manuals, holding muscle development programs, bringing in improved technologies and setting up working schedules and compensation programs for machete wielders.”  While the first two categories of workers are busy doing the work, the third category are the leaders and are responsible for ensuring that the right kind of work is being done. Covey writes that the leader “is the one who climbs the tallest tree, surveys the entire situation, and yells, “Wrong jungle!” 


stratop nashville perspective

Great leaders ensure everyone has proper perspective on their work and that the organization is hacking its way through the correct jungle!

But when it comes to strategic planning, too many leadership teams dive straight in to planning, without gaining proper perspective on the past, present and future realities of the the business.  Leadership teams need to ensure they are climbing the tallest tree to survey the entire situation – StratOp ensures strategic planning efforts begin in this manner.

StratOp Ensures Leadership Teams Gain Perspective Prior To Planning

StratOp is a strategic system that helps teams clarify where they are, where they’re headed, and how they will get there. It’s used by organizations big and small, from billion-dollar global corporations to entrepreneurs and startups.  The first phase of StratOp is “Perspective”.  The Perspective Phase of StratOp ensures full perspective is gained prior to creating an organization’s strategic plan.

Ascending The Mountain Of Perspective

Unlike most strategic planning processes, StratOp begins with a full day of perspective gathering.  When we begin the StratOp process we tell each team that we are all at the base of the mountain, symbolizing that we collectively do not have the necessary perspective on the business.  But as we begin to wrestle through the perspective tools in StratOp, we will ascend the ‘mountain of perspective’.  Once we have reached the pinnacle of this mountain, we will be in full perspective and able to see our past, present and future realities more clearly.  Then our core plan will practically write itself.  And just with Stephen Covey’s leader who climbed a ladder, we have taken that team collectively to the pinnacle of their mountain of perspective, so as to get above the ground floor view of the day-to-day details of their business, and instead gain a high-level and wide-angle perspective on their business.


StratOp Phase I – PERSPECTIVE: Where Are We Now?

Through a series of tools, we guide a team through Socratic conversations that begin to identify and unpack the truth of the organization’s past, present and future realities.  Some of the perspective tools include:

  • Turning Points: Identifies the past events have made a significant impact on the business
  • 4 Helpful Lists: We ask and answer what is right that needs to be optimized, wrong that needs to be fixed, missing that needs to be added, and confused that needs to be clarified
  • Internal Patterns & Trends: Recognizing the internal currents of the organization
  • External Patterns & Trends: Changes in the external environment, from economic, to technology, to regulation, to societal trends need to be more fully understood
  • Life Cycle Analysis: Where are our products and services on the typical life cycle from accelerating, booming, plateauing, decelerating and tanking?

Visit NavigateTheJourney.com/StratOp for a full list and explanation of all of the StratOp Perspective tools.

So What?

  • Where is the collective perspective of your leadership team?  Are you and your team buried deep in myopia of the ‘jungle’ of your respective functional departments, or have you collectively ascended up the mountain of perspective to gain a bird’s eye view of your business as a whole?

Next Steps?

About The Author

  • Tom Barrett is a Nashville-based leadership team coach who utilizes proven processes including StratOp, Scaling Up and the ValueBuilder System to help entrepreneurs get what they want from their business. 

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