When It Comes to Strategic Planning, Don’t Muzzle the Voices of Your Employees

Strategy planning is often conducted at only the highest levels in an organization. This is a huge mistake.

Think about it. You count on your employees, from the executive suite to the frontline, to carry the responsibility for actually executing your strategy. But why should they buy into your plan and fully commit to executing it if they had no part in creating it.  For any strategy to succeed, employees must understand it, believe that it will pave the way for success and feel that it is implementable in your specific corporate culture.

Even with a comprehensive, multi-step and multi-media cascading and communication program, your employees will have difficulty fully grasping the importance and impact of the plan and their role in achieving it. In fact, one recent study found that only 5% of employees were able to articulate their organization’s strategy. 5%–sounds like only the executive team and a few upper level managers!

The message is loud and clear. Executives need to come down from their ivory towers and open up the strategic planning process by involving the key people who are affected by it and who are part of executing it. Here is how to do it and what you will gain:

  1. The most effective way to gain employee buy-in is to involve them during, not after, the strategic planning process. For some organizations, this may not be possible. If not, include as many levels and cross-functional participants as possible. Then be sure you craft a clear and compelling message to convey the strategy to the rest of the work force that is simple to communicate, easily understood and highlights the core reasoning behind it…in other words, make sure they understand what will be gained if the strategy is successfully implemented.The purpose is to encourage employees to “own” their role in strategy execution and to provide input to make it a better fit for your unique organizational culture. They should clearly understand the goals to be reached and how success and progress will be measured. Then hold your managers accountable for explaining as often as needed the plan to their teams and helping their reports integrate the plan into the work they do on a day-to-day basis.
  2. Another way to open up the planning process is to let go of telling employees how to execute the strategy. Be clear about your vision for success; set target goals; but let individual employees and teams figure out how to achieve them. Give them a chance to come up with approaches they think will work. This increases their ownership of the strategy as they try to solve the problem of effective execution within their own area of expertise.
  3. The key to staying focused is having a clear set of values (or culture) to which your strategy is inextricably linked. This is a true test of your culture. If it is strong, your cultural norms and values will guide employee actions and decisions. As you observe employees making choices that support company values and lead toward strategy execution, recognize them with public praise. This will encourage others to follow suit. Everyone reacts well to positive feedback especially when their behavior is the result of a conscious effort to follow the plan. Conversely, do not tolerate behaviors that are in conflict with the way you want work to get done.

Even the best-crafted strategies are difficult to execute. Give your organization a head start toward success by involving the work force from the beginning so they get it and execute it in a way that they believe in.

Comments are closed.

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

LSA’s consultant designed and delivered a half-day team building solution for our recent conference. It included careful customization to integrate the design with our new mission and values. Everyone had fun and identified key issues with our teamwork. Altogether a great program!

Bob Ward
Director of HR

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

Each program is preceded by an assessment of the participants. The course is then designed to fit the specific parameters and needs of the group. The highly interactive delivery is provided by recognized experts in their fields. On the spot coaching is provided during the program and each participant receives individual follow-up after the course. Courses can be delivered in-person or virtually. Given the nature of Cisco’s business and the way we operate, these remote workshops are a must for anyone who joins our company. Their work is eye opening. Great content and fantastic delivery.

Frank J. Kuypers
Business Development Manager

I had been working with LSA for many years with my prior company. Currently, I’m with a company who hadn’t done much basic management skills training. After identifying and presenting a program recently, our managers are excited and talking in the halls about the great experience. LSA saves us time in delivering the right training for our needs.

Phyllis Moracco
HR Director

I highly recommend LSA Global to anyone who is looking to improve individual or organizational effectiveness through their top quality programs and broad range of expertise.

Greg Pappas
VP 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

LSA helped us design and deliver a blended learning solution for our leaders to help drive our growth plans in a way that aligned with our specific culture and values. LSA understood our business, had deep expertise in the content areas, tailored the programs to fit our specific needs, and delivered great results. They constantly strive to deliver business impact and align their solutions with our business initiates, culture, and performance management systems. I highly recommend them to anyone looking to take their leaders to the next level.”

Beth A. Taylor
Vice President of Human Resources

Thoratec

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

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

LSA exceeded all my expectations. We interviewed 7 potential training and consulting partners and selected LSA due to their expertise, flexibility, and breadth and depth of solutions. We were able to construct a management training course from the modules most appropriate to our needs, and are able to provide additional training from their well developed portfolio of experts. Our managers galvanized as a team throughout the session and are better prepared for the rigors of a competitive market.

Mitch Mandich
CEO

Edify

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

LSA helped to meet the needs of my teams within a very narrow timeframe. My team walked away with highly useful management tools and practices. LSA saved us time in delivering the right solution for our specific needs.

Sandeep Kumar
Director, Software Engineering, EPG

Congratulations on your pro-activity in establishing this program and developing such an effective New Employee Orientation course.

Farhat Ali
President and Chief Executive Office

Fujitsu

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

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