6 Ways to Better Communicate Your Strategy

6 Ways to Better Communicate Your Strategy
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Better Communicate Your Strategy to Improve Strategy Execution

The better you communicate your strategy — especially after you facilitate a strategy retreat — the greater your chances for successful implementation.  Good strategies outline clear and compelling choices about what actions to take and where to play.  Done right, your strategy should provide the underpinning for everything you do.

Are You Investing in Strategy Communication?
While leaders often spend massive amounts of time and energy crafting strategic plans to help their company get to the next level, they rarely invest the same amount of effort to ensure that everyone is on the same page.  According to a survey by IBM, less than one in ten well formulated strategies are effectively executed.  That is why employees want leaders to better communicate your strategy.

Strategy Execution Stumbling Blocks
Our organizational alignment research found that strategy accounts for 31% of the difference between high and low performing companies.  There are many causes for the gaps between strategy design and execution.  The biggest issue — few companies are able to clearly articulate their strategy in a way that is understood, agreed-upon, and believed in by both leaders and employees.

6 Ways to Better Communicate Your Strategy
Here are some tips from our leadership action learning programs about how to better communicate your strategy so you spread the word in a way that will be understood, accepted, believed, and supported.

  1. Actively Involve Employees from the Start
    It’s human nature. Employees are much more apt to sign on for a strategy that includes their input.  Strategies should not be crafted just by the leadership.  After all, employees are the ones who have to translate goals into action steps.

    They and their teams have a unique perspective that should be understood and actively included in the strategy design process.

  2. Consistently Educate
    You can’t expect employees to understand the rationale for a major shift in strategy unless you keep them in the loop every step of the way regarding what you are trying to do, why you are doing it, and how you expect them to pull it off.

    Give employees the context and data that they need in order to implement and buy into your strategic vision.  The more transparent you can be in sharing information, the closer employees will be to supporting you.

  3. Inspire Meaning
    Try to express the strategy in a way that focuses on a grander purpose than simply making money. Employees will be more engaged when they feel that what they do has a worthwhile objective.  Articulate the strategy in a way that is meaningful to the company, your employees, and your clients.
  4. Keep It Simple and Relevant
    Use simple, clear, direct language. No “corporate speak” allowed.  Describe the company’s core purpose and strategic goals in terms that make sense to employees on the front lines.  That’s where the real work gets done.
  5. Stay in Touch
    The strategies that succeed are oft-repeated, modeled, and reinforced. Leaders and senior managers need to repeat the message often, stay available for questions, and address issues as they arise.  Keep a strong pulse on what is working and what is not working as you move forward.
  6. Fully Fund the Campaign
    Send the message in a variety of ways — posters, emails, townhalls, team meetings, CEO announcements, social media, blogs, games. Don’t scrimp on your investment in communicating the strategy and tracking its progress.

    The larger and more varied your audience, the more varied your approach and timing needs to be.

The Bottom Line
We know from our leadership simulation assessment data that the better you communicate your strategy, the better your chances for success.  Good strategies outline clear and compelling choices about what actions to take and where to play.  Don’t underinvest in the communication piece of strategic planning and execution.

To learn more about how to better communicate your strategy, download 3 Big Mistakes to Avoid When Cascading Your Corporate Strategy

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