How to Communicate Your Strategy More Effectively

Strategic clarity accounts for 31% of the difference between high and low performing companies.

The more effectively you clarify, communicate and cascade your business strategy the more likely it is to be implemented as planned. But you may not currently be relying on the best way to pass along your business strategy. There’s new research that could point you in a better direction.

Remember the old-fashioned kid game where you communicated via tin cans and a string? And there was also that other telephone communication game where one child whispered to another who passed along the message to a third and so on. By the time the message reached the end of the circle, it was almost always unrecognizable from the original version. This example illustrates one of the risks of relying too heavily on the cascading principle of communicating your organization’s business strategy.

Several years ago a major 60,000 response study was conducted by Charles Galunic of Insead and Immanuel Hermreck of Bertelsmann to better understand how strategy could be most effectively communicated across the workforce. Here were the results…some expected and one quite surprising to us.

  • The strategy was better understood by higher-level employees, employees who were happily engaged in their jobs and who had an overall positive view of their company. This made sense. Engaged employees and those with a lateral view of the organization typically have an easier time understanding, digesting and implementing corporate strategies.
  • Long tenure at a company did not necessarily predict that the employee would “get” the strategy better than newer hires. This was interesting to us because some leaders mistakenly assume that newer employees need more hand-holding when it comes to strategic change and execution.
  • Job conditions, especially opportunities for further development and a clear career path, strongly affected how well understood and supported the strategy was among employees. We found this result interesting. It tells us that leaders should ensure development opportunities and career paths are adjusted and aligned with any strategic changes as part of the strategy communication and cascading process.
  • Confidence in top management was also a significant factor. This aligns with our organizational alignment and employee engagement research. You will know you are headed in the right direction when employees understand the company’s plans for future success, believe the organization will be successful in the future, understand how their job helps the organization achieve success and know how they fit into the organization’s future plans.
  • And, finally, here, from our perspective, is the unexpected result of the survey—direct managers play a far less important role in strategy communication than company leaders.

For those who seem to blame managers for employees becoming disengaged, less productive and at risk to leave, strategy communication and execution is a case where senior leaders need to take charge and play THE major role.

Employees like to hear about company strategy from those who are most in charge of crafting it and making it happen…firsthand, not second- or third-hand. Employees want to hear the real version from executive leaders. They want the straight, unadulterated version, not one that has been watered down and re-interpreted through the cascade of information dissemination. Senior leaders have the authority; they have the credibility; they are in a position to know; and they have the answers to employee questions because they are (or should be) the company’s business strategy experts.

Don’t rely on old-fashioned, unproven methods of communicating the strategy that will guide your company into the future. The message is too important to be garbled by ineffective messengers. Bring your executives in direct contact with the work force, ideally in a forum where questions can be asked. This is the way to ensure the right message reaches the right ears without the possibility of miscommunication.

To learn more about strategic clarity and communication, download The 3 Big Mistakes to Avoid When Communicating and Cascading Your Corporate Strategy

Comments are closed.

LSA is an instrumental training outsourcing partner in helping us to build management capacity and strategically invest in our people. Their flexibility, depth, and breadth of expertise allows us to deliver top quality solutions that are directly tied to key business plans. Their ability to custom design, deliver, and evaluate our Management Curriculum has been excellent. They are true business partners and a pleasure to work with.

Margaret M. Mader
Vice President, Human Resources

Hyperion

We consider LSA our true business partner in the areas of Learning and Organizational Development. From Strategic Planning to Presentation Skills and Management Training, they continue to provide excellent value and extremely high quality solutions – not just one time events. I recommend them to anyone looking to drive true business results.

Michelle A. Mitchell
Vice President, Worldwide Human Resources

LSA’s Employee Engagement Consulting and Survey work has provided critical visibility into: how well our people are holding up under the general economic environment, as well as, the specific challenges that face biotechnology companies in their efforts to discover and develop new medicines; their level of alignment and commitment to XOMA’s Vision and mission critical strategies; how leadership practices and management systems support an environment that engender commitment, and the specific actions that our leaders can take to improve on areas that are important to our people. I highly recommend LSA’s employee engagement solutions.

Chris Wells
Vice President, HR and IT

We contacted LSA to help us with customized management development. LSA worked with me to identify a solution that would meet our exact needs. We decided to start at the top and ran the program for our executive team. It was such a great success that we hope to roll it out companywide. We look forward to a long-term partnership with LSA Global and their team of experts.

Barry L. Byrd, SPHR
Human Resources Manager

Harmonic has worked with LSA for over 8 years. We have found their partnership extremely beneficial. We recently implemented a Management Development Program that was designed and customized to support our company’s strategic initiative of hiring, building, and retaining key intellectual property and human talent. We worked closely with LSA to target and implement the right solutions with the greatest impact. I would recommend LSA to any company that’s looking for a trusted training and development partner.

Janice Passarello
Director of Human Resources

PalmSource has found our relationship with LSA extremely beneficial. We worked closely with LSA to customize the right Management Training Program solution to meet our unique business needs. LSA is a quality organization, one that I’d recommend to any company looking for a first class training and consulting partner.

Ken Boehm
Vice President of Human Resources

I’ve been associated with LSA for the last 8 years and have found them to be an extremely professional, well managed full service training organization. Since working with LSA, I’ve participated in a number of solutions ranging from Performance Management to Assertiveness Training – I’ve found that the quality of the resources is superior. They are well prepared and have definitely done a considerable amount of pre-work in order to customize our culture and business into the total learning experience – making it most beneficial for our employees.

Duane Schroeder
Human Resource Manager

LSA’s approach and ability to bring the best resources to eBay has been a great asset. They really focus on helping us succeed in any way they can and are very flexible in meeting our management and talent needs.

Mike Normant
Learning & Development

ebay

We recently partnered with LSA Global to offer our Supervisors and Managers a customized two-day management training program. Everyone who attended said it was by far the best management training program they had ever attended. The content was rich and highly interactive. The case studies were relevant. Each participant walked away from the training much better equipped to lead their teams.

Jeff Coon
Director of Human Resources

On behalf of Roche and my staff I would like to sincerely thank you for your help with this. The English as a Second Language (ESL) assessment and coaching that you provided for our team was a great success.

Cam Greig
Associate Director

Roche

We have been able to utilize LSA’s extensive network of top-notch resources to leverage our investment in employee development. The result has been the cost effective and highly efficient delivery of quality educational and management training programs.

Steve Feller
Vice President, Human Resources

LSA helped change our entire culture around meetings, making them more effective and efficient, thus enabling us to concentrate on driving more business.

Terry Wassman
VP of Human Resources

We consider LSA Global our outsourced learning and development partner. We worked closely with LSA to customize a management development program to meet our growing business needs. I would highly recommend LSA to any company wanting to deliver quality learning solutions.

Terri Wright-Scheer
Vice President Human Resources

We have worked with LSA Global for our learning and development needs and have always had great success. They helped us recently with customized Management Workshops that we held for the second time. It was fantastic, and I would highly recommend LSA to anyone that is attempting to get immediate and impactful improvements.

Mary Johnston
HR Manager, BU Radiology Informatics

The refreshing thing about LSA is that they focus on understanding our business situation and helping me succeed instead of selling a product. With over 150 experts, they are an invaluable resource that helps me deliver higher quality results faster. I recommend them to anyone looking to improve the performance of their workforce.

Stacie Rodgers
VP of Human Resources

Cutera

Evaluate your Performance

Toolkits

Toolkits

Download key published insights and tools from industry experts highlighting best practices in the areas of talent, strategy and culture.

More

Health Checks

Health Checks

Want to know how you stack up against leading organizations?  Receive a complimentary benchmarking analysis courtesy of an LSA Expert.

More

Whitepapers

Whitepapers

Get up to speed on timely solutions critical to your business. Published by LSA Experts based upon client feedback and key industry trends.

More

Methodology

Methodologies

First we identify the key metrics you want to improve. Then we assemble a dedicated team of elite experts who have successfully solved similar problems with similar clients.

More

Blogs

Stay up to do date with the latest information on how we help high growth companies align their culture and talent with strategy.

More

Case Studies

Client Case Studies

Real world consulting and training approaches from LSA projects, providing insights on how your company can outperform the competition.

More