How to Get Your People Lined Up With the Corporate Strategy

A long line of business people, one after the other

Unless you have clearly articulated your business strategy and your employees understand and embrace it, your people, and your organization, are poised to underperform.  Our organizational alignment research found that strategic clarity accounts for up to 31% of the difference between high and low performing organizations.

Do not count your organization among the 70% of companies where the strategy is unknown or misunderstood by the employee population.

Can everyone from your executive team to your front-line workers tell you simply why your business exists, what makes it unique and where it is headed? If not, know that it really matters. The consequences of a misunderstood or misaligned strategy are real. A lack of a clear business strategy affects:

  • Business Actions
    A clear corporate strategy guides how employee time should be spent. It helps in prioritizing. Without a well-known strategy and universally-understood plan for action, everything slows down. If employees don’t know how what they do fits into the overall goals of the company, they are likely to work at cross purposes. Each action they take should push toward the coordinated goals of the business.
  • Business Decisions
    With no clear guidelines on what matters to the company’s future, decisions may take you in the wrong direction. If, for instance, your strategy is growth, a decision to spend resources on a new marketing campaign may not be as wise as investing in technology that allows you to scale more efficiently.

Here is how to get your people lined up with the strategy so that your organization is pulling together in the intended direction:

  1. Be brutally clear
    The first step as a leader is to be sure you yourself are clear on the strategy that is unique to your company, your market situation, your culture, and your workforce. Invest the time and energy required to figure out just what makes your business and your organization thrive. Define the “promise” of your company now and into the future to your customers, employees and investors.
  2. Communicate and cascade the corporate strategy
    Communicate your vision and the critical few strategic moves that will best help you realize it. Test to see that your employees are not just nodding their heads to agree with you but that they are able to use the strategy to help make the right decisions for the business. Let each organizational level digest and adjust the vision so that it makes sense for them and their business while aligning with the overall corporate strategy.  In other words, let them make it their own.  This is the way to line up your people for success.
  3. Encourage, measure and reward strategic adoption
    As employees take the necessary strategic actions and moves aligned with your business strategy and corporate culture, be sure to recognize them in a timely and meaningful way. The same is true when people disregard the strategy and culture.  Make sure that there are fair and timely consequences.  Now others will be more likely to adopt the right moves and avoid doing the wrong things in the wrong ways. Let people know how the strategy is progressing and focus on inspiring them to help achieve the most important business goals together.

Learn more about strategic clarity.

Take our free strategic clarity assessment.

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