How to Get Your Team to Fully Commit to the Strategy

Picture of leaders starting at a strategic plan

Smart leaders know it is imperative to get their team to fully commit to the strategy.  And our organizational alignment research backs them up.  Strategy clarity accounts for 31% of the difference between high and low performing organizations.

Getting your team to fully commit to the strategy is different than having your team generally agreed with the strategic direction or feel like it sounded like a good plan.  For strategic clarity to occur, you need so much more than your team’s simple “okay.” You need your team to fully commit to the strategy…their commitment to devote their time, energy and resources to the changes and hard work ahead.  You need to capture their hearts and their minds.

You can’t count on “group speak.” You need to talk with your team, one-on-one, to make sure that each member:

  1. Clearly understands the strategy
  2. Buys into the rationale for the plan
  3. Believes in the necessity of executing the strategy for the good of the business
  4. Is willing to hold themselves and their teams accountable for implementation
  5. Feels that it is implementable in your unique corporate culture

If you sense hesitation or disagreement, now is the time to uncover it…before one of your leaders knowingly or unknowingly sabotages the effort. It may just be a matter of giving them time to adjust to the changing situation. Remember, change never comes easily, and you must realistically expect some resistance. But, if there’s little improvement in a naysayer’s attitude, you may need to try to bring them around with more than persuasive discussion and charts.

Try taking them on a journey of discovery. Let them experience the difference between doing things the old way and what it will feel and look like doing things according to the new strategic plan.Just as it has been proven that experiential learning is far more powerful than lecture, the proof is in the pudding. Here are two examples:

  1. If your strategy is based on improving customer satisfaction, take your team on a tour of the call center. Show them the difference between a call where the rep had to pass along a customer from one level to another (insert any phone company here) and where the rep was given authority to simply and quickly solve the customer’s problem (think Zappos). It is easy to see how one interaction ends up with a frustrated customer and the other with a loyal customer. What does that mean for the business? What changes in behavior will result in more satisfying customer interactions? Give your team opportunities to experience, at the customer level, how business results will be improved and discuss what it means for them and their teams
  2. Or let’s say your strategy calls for improving the retention of top talent by raising the skill levels of your middle managers. Identify some real-life scenarios that show the “before” and the “after.” Let them experience the frustration of being managed poorly and the greater motivation of an employee who is managed well.

To gain the full commitment you need for the success of your strategy, you may need to take your team out of the board room and into the trenches.

To learn more about better strategic communications, download 5 Expert-Tips to Better Communicate Your Strategy

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