How to Create the Right Strategic Message

How to Create the Right Strategic Message
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Send the Right Strategic Message
The right strategic message matters — what you say, whom you send it to and how you say it.  Effective strategic messaging creates strategic alignment and affects employee motivation, behavior, and commitment.

A clear business strategy defines what matters most and enables leaders to prioritize resources and efforts.  Done right, your strategy should set you up to perform beyond the sum of its parts.  Communicated effectively your strategy should harness the energy of your employees to collectively perform at their peak.

Your Strategic Drivers
Your first strategic message should highlight your key strategic drivers — your vision, mission and core values — and what sets you apart from the competition.  These key strategic drivers define what your organization hopes to become, your fundamental purpose, your core beliefs, and why you should win.  Employees are motivated when there is meaning to the work they do and when they feel like they are contributing to a winning team.

In very simple terms, help employees recall that meaning and recharge their engines for doing their jobs the best they can.  Take it up a level from simply talking about “products” to providing a “unique customer outcome” that truly makes a difference.  While it sounds cliché, you do want your employees focused on building cathedrals, not just laying stones.

How You Want Work to Get Done
The right strategic message is not just about the “what.”  It is also about the “how.”  Because strategy must go through people and culture to get implemented, simple, direct language should point the way to the critical few behaviors that best move the strategy forward.  Our highest performing clients select two or three cultural dimensions that matter most.

For example, Walmart focuses on behaviors related to low process variance and customer transactional excellence to ensure price leadership.  Apple focuses on cultural norms that drive market leadership and an external customer focus to support their strategy of innovation.  What cultural dimensions matter most for your strategic success?

How You Convey the Message
When it comes to strategic communications, authenticity counts.  Each and every strategic messenger must believe the message.  Then, and only then, will your teams really pay attention.  Though effective corporate communications may first be conveyed in a company-wide approach, each key strategic message should be workshopped within small teams to gather feedback and increase active involvement.

You will know you are on the right path when everyone:

  • Can articulate the strategy in a way that makes sense to them and their role
  • Believes the strategy can win in your marketplace
  • Knows the critical few behaviors required to move the strategy forward

Don’t Scrimp
If your strategy is important, how you share your key strategic message should be fully funded.  Use all avenues — newsletters, emails, social media, games, one-on-ones, bag lunches — to increase active involvement and buy-in.  And stick with it.  Not just a one-time deal, the key strategic messages should be reinforced so they becomes fully integrated into the DNA of the company.

The Bottom Line
What you say and how you say it can have a powerful effect on how fully engaged your employees are in moving your strategy forward.  Are you sure you’re sending the right message and in the most effective way?

Want more strategy communication tips?  Download The 3 Big Mistakes to Avoid When Cascading Your Corporate Strategy

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