Why Leaders Need to Better Connect Employees to the Big Picture

the word "Connect" is printed on a blackboard

Based upon working with high growth companies for decades, we believe that the business strategy and plans to grow should not be confined to the executive suite.

Why? Because more often than not, high performance employees want and need to know how they connect to and fit into the overall direction and plan of the organization.

Experienced leaders understand the importance of having a clear, believable and implementable growth strategy. In fact, our organizational alignment research found that strategic clarity accounts for 31% of the difference between high and low performing companies. Savvy leaders do what it takes to set a clear direction and devise a doable plan that will propel the organization forward.

In order to carry an organization into the future, a winning strategy relies on four key attributes. It must be:

  • Understood
  • Committed to
  • Equal to the challenge
  • Supported by enough resources

These are not surprising concepts; yet few business strategies are designed in a way that they are truly implementable.

The piece that so many executive teams skip or short-change is the step that shares the plan with (or more substantially includes) all key stakeholders. Their definition of those who “need to know” and “care to know” is typically far too narrow. Our organizational alignment research and our employee engagement survey results tell us that the majority of employees want more information about their organization’s plans for the short- and the long-term. They not only want a clear explanation of where the organization is headed; they want to know how what they do day-to-day contributes to the organization’s success.

So how do you cascade the strategy throughout the organization?

  1. First you spread the net.
    Include some employees from every layer of the organization as much as you can as you build the plan. Just as with wise change management, you invite more than the top executives to give their input and ideas in the early stages because it is the rank-and-file who will actually implement the plan. The more employees buy into and believe in the strategy, the more engaged and committed they will be to its execution.
  2. Second, you make sure that all your line managers are fully aboard.
    Typically, mid-level managers are the ones who will be on the front lines communicating, executing and adjusting the strategy day-by-day. Their commitment, enthusiasm and alignment for the strategy must cascade down to their teams. If your strategy is clear enough, accepted enough, believable enough and implementable enough, your plan is set up to succeed.

When you put together your business strategy for the organization, don’t forget that your employees want a better understanding of how their efforts impact the bottom line and create meaning for them in their careers. Involve them from the get-go and have a smart plan to communicate and cascade your strategic, plans, goals, roles and success metrics throughout the organization.

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