Get the best minds and hearts people. Get them together. Not permanent, but more than simply ad hoc. Let them tackle some problems that the Business Units heads and Divisional heads are not solving, or are solving very slowly, or seem intractable. Ask them for help. Be antidemocratic, anti representational and certainly not politically correct. The Membership of the Gordian Brigade is by appointment. It has nothing to do with rank. The group may contain many grades of the organization chart.
It’s not a permanent structure, or at least not always. It depends, of course, on how many Gordian Knots are on the table. Put in charge the fresher mind with the fresher leadership skills, even if it comes from a sector of the firm that usually does not get called to arms.
Give them space, and a place, and a bit of time, and free coffee, and…
An ancient prophecy said that whoever could untie the Gordian Knot would become the King of Asia. Everybody tried, until Alexander the Great decided to ‘think outside the box’ (was he the Father of this?) and pulling his sword, cut the knot in half. Cheater, but successful.
Maybe you need to cut the knot as well, but nobody dares because the assumption is that you need to disentangle it bit by bit. An independent Gordian Brigade may just do that. Or not.
It’s hard to match the power of an external reviewer, a fresh pair of eyes, different mind and soul, when addressing issues where one is stuck. We keep going and going, hitting the same wall, until somebody says, Psss! have you thought of jumping the wall? (No! we were not supposed to)
You, of course, would like that all your executives and managers are able to do that. But the constrains are often self-imposed and you need to inject freedom to break some rules, and some china in the glass shop, and some politically correct protocols. Without pushing the boundaries, the boundaries will think that they are invincible.
Pick those people. I am pretty sure you know them. This Smart Brigade, or Gordian Brigade, could bypass for you six months or more or agonizing fighting. If you need to boost this, find somebody from outside to join the party. For a bit.
I know, you have not done this before and you don’t want to upset VPs Peter, John and Mary. OK, but, why not? Ask to leave the ego at the door and be practical. Rule of thumb, you have in the payroll people who can do that, including some Positive Deviants.
And, this is the bonus, you may learn a thing or two on how they do it. If you are still a bit conservative on this, OK, don’t give them a sword. That’s a compromise.