How to Communicate Strategy More Effectively

Communicate Strategy More Effectively 2 kids playing telephone

Leaders Must Communicate Strategy More Effectively
How leaders communicate strategy more effectively can make or break strategy execution.  Our organizational alignment research found that strategic clarity accounts for 31% of the difference between high and low performing companies in terms of:

  • Revenue growth
  • Profitability
  • Customer loyalty
  • Leadership effectiveness
  • Employee engagement

Clarify, Communicate and Cascade
The more effectively you clarify, communicate and cascade your business strategy the more likely it is to be implemented as planned. But you may not currently be relying on the best way to pass along your business strategy. There’s new research that could point you in a better direction about how to communicate strategy more effectively.

Strategy Communication Research
Remember the old-fashioned game where you communicated via tin cans and a string? And there was also that other telephone communication game where one child whispered to another who passed along the message to a third and so on. By the time the message reached the end of the circle, it was almost always unrecognizable from the original version.

This example illustrates one of the risks of relying too heavily on the cascading principle of communicating your organization’s business strategy.

Several years ago a major 60,000 response study was conducted by Charles Galunic of Insead and Immanuel Hermreck of Bertelsmann to better understand how strategy could be most effectively communicated across the workforce. Here are the high level results…some expected and one quite surprising to us.

1.  Seniority and Engagement Play a Role
The strategy was better understood by higher-level employees, employees who were happily engaged in their jobs and who had an overall positive view of their company. This made sense. Engaged employees and those with a lateral view of the organization typically have an easier time understanding, digesting and implementing new corporate strategies.

2.  Tenure Did Not Matter
Long tenure at a company did not necessarily predict that the employee would “get” the strategy better than newer hires. This was interesting to us because some leaders mistakenly assume that newer employees need more hand-holding when it comes to strategic change and execution.

3.  Career Advancement Opportunities Skew Strategic Buy-in
Job conditions, especially opportunities for further career development and a clear career path, strongly affected how well understood and supported the strategy was among employees. We found this result interesting. It tells us that leaders should ensure development opportunities and career paths are adjusted and aligned with any strategic changes as part of the strategy communication and cascading process.

4.  Confidence in Senior Leadership Matters
Confidence in top management was a significant factor. This aligns with our organizational alignment and employee engagement research. Employees need to understand the company’s plans for future success, believe the organization will be successful in the future, understand how their job helps the organization achieve success and know how they fit into the organization’s future plans.

5.  Direct Manager Strategy Communication is Not as Important as Senior Leader Communications
And, finally, here, from our perspective, is the unexpected result of the survey—direct managers play a far less important role in strategy communication than company leaders.  While employees want help in translating the strategy to their role from their direct manager, they want to first hear the overarching strategy from the top leaders that created it.

Employees like to hear about company strategy from those who are most in charge of crafting it and making it happen…firsthand, not second- or third-hand. Employees want to hear the real version from executive leaders. They want the straight, unadulterated version, not one that has been watered down and re-interpreted through the cascade of information dissemination.

Senior leaders have the authority; they have the credibility; they are in a position to know; and they have the answers to employee questions because they are (or should be) the company’s business strategy experts.

The Bottom Line
If you want to communicate strategy more effectively, senior leaders need to take charge and play THE major role in communicating the strategic direction of the organization. Don’t rely on old-fashioned, unproven methods of communicating the strategy that will guide your company into the future. The message is too important to be garbled by ineffective or inexperienced messengers.

Bring your executives in direct contact with the work force, ideally in a forum where questions can be asked. This is the way to ensure the right message reaches the right ears without the possibility of miscommunication.

To learn more about how to communicate strategy more effectively, download The 3 Biggest Mistakes to Avoid When Communicating and Cascading Your Corporate Strategy

Comments are closed.

I’ve been associated with LSA for the last 8 years and have found them to be an extremely professional, well managed full service training organization. Since working with LSA, I’ve participated in a number of solutions ranging from Performance Management to Assertiveness Training – I’ve found that the quality of the resources is superior. They are well prepared and have definitely done a considerable amount of pre-work in order to customize our culture and business into the total learning experience – making it most beneficial for our employees.

Duane Schroeder
Human Resource Manager

Our company engaged LSA to do a specialized “train the trainer” program, and the consultant’s performance outdid our exceptionally high standards for such a program. Very crucial to the success of this program was the work done upfront to discuss our needs and to interview key members of our organization so that the program specifically met our goals. Our facilitators continue to comment on the success of the program. Thanks also for the follow-up.

Frank Abbott
Chief Financial Officer

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

What a personal and professional pleasure it has been to Partner with LSA. They are truly a strategic partner with Wyse. For more than 5 years, LSA has been engaged in delivering various training and development solutions for Wyse, from custom on-site programs targeting specific core competencies, to working individually with clients to build job skills, and offering invaluable services to me and my team as we continue to build our learning programs. LSA’s representatives do more than sell a product, they offer a full service solution: they understand our business, our strategic initiatives, and the needs of our customers.

Jeff Rangel
Director of HR

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

Working with LSA Global has proven to be extremely valuable and worthwhile. LSA understands our business, has deep expertise in content areas, and tailors the programs to deliver great results. The facilitator was extremely knowledgeable about Working Globally with India and her energy and passion made the session interesting, fun, and enjoyable for all that attended. The participants walked away extremely pleased along with highly useful practices and tools. I would highly recommend LSA Global to any company that has partners or offices in India.

Glenn McGillivray
Human Resources Business Partner

Intuit

The LSA Global team was very receptive and flexible to our needs every step of the way. Their staff and facilitator demonstrated attention to detail, responsiveness, and professional courtesy. The participants were thrilled with the outcome and rated the communication skills workshop and the facilitator as ‘Excellent’. I’d highly recommend working with the LSA Global team to meet your professional development needs.

John Mastrorilli
FRDP Leader

Intuit

LSA has been a tremendous asset to my portfolio, both at my current company and my past company. As an HR leader, I am always looking for ways to find external resources that can provide a solution to our management training needs. LSA does that for me. Their solutions are presented in a much more leadership-oriented manner so as to be crisp, business relevant, and easy to apply right back on the job. I will continue to augment our programs using LSA solutions.

Ken Boehm
VP of Human Resources

LSA is an instrumental training outsourcing partner in helping us to build management capacity and strategically invest in our people. Their flexibility, depth, and breadth of expertise allows us to deliver top quality solutions that are directly tied to key business plans. Their ability to custom design, deliver, and evaluate our Management Curriculum has been excellent. They are true business partners and a pleasure to work with.

Margaret M. Mader
Vice President, Human Resources

Hyperion

In my years working with LSA, it seems like I’ve had a personal consultant at my fingertips to help me identify just the right solution to satisfy our needs. The entire LSA team has become a trusted friend of Actel — assuring we provide state-of-the-art learning to meet our complex, high-tech business and people needs.

Linda Mitchell
Training Manager

I consistently look to LSA Global when I need custom programs put together for my client groups. I can always count on LSA to do a thorough needs analysis and to put together spectacular programs that are well received. Their management development and performance management expertise and professionalism make them one of my top-rated learning and development partners.

Stephanie Webb
HR Program Manager

Rambus

LSA has become the gold standard in team building and management training at Genomic Health! I have a hard time finding facilitators that come close to their level of customization, expertise and experience.

Emily Couey
Director of Human Resources

VNUS Medical has been very pleased with the effective management development programs that LSA Global has delivered for us over the last four years. The programs have been universally facilitated by experienced and best in class instructors. The knowledge gained by our management team has been put into practice very quickly. VNUS is very happy to be working in partnership with LSA because they consistently deliver excellent programs that receive exceptional feedback from our management team.

Cindee Van Vleck
Director Human Resources

Hyperion has a commitment to lifelong learning. LSA helps us provide the right business sales training, management training programs, and leadership development programs at the right time to meet the needs of both individuals and departments. I especially appreciate their ability to listen to my needs and recommend the appropriate facilitators, solutions and content.

Sarah Parks
Senior Project Manager

Hyperion

I continue to be impressed by the level of leadership development and management expertise and quality of advice and facilitation that LSA has to offer. What a smart and client-centric group of great people who really know how to help leaders attract, engage, develop and retain top talent.

Tracy Esposito
Director, HR Business Partner

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