How to Motivate Employees When Strategy Shifts

How to Motivate Employees When Strategy Shifts
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The Ability to Motivate Employees When Strategy Shifts Matters
There are all kinds of internal and external reasons to purposefully shift your strategy.  But they all involve reacting to a major change in your business typically driven by new leaders, new technologies, new markets, new competitors, or new disruptions.  Regardless of the cause, the best leaders know how to motivate employees when strategy shifts occur.

The Need for Strong Leadership
When a shift in strategy is required, leaders need to handle the change with clarity, skill, and confidence.  While employees want leaders to be open to feedback and to making adjustments, employees do not want to see leadership anxiety or indecision.  Employees want leaders to be well prepared, clear on priorities, decisive, and focused on the path ahead.

In other words, leaders need to do their job — to lead and to lead well.  They need to keep their teams motivated and on target even when the strategic plan shifts.

5 Steps to Motivate Employees When Strategy Shifts
In order to keep your team motivated and engaged, you need to:

  1. Evaluate Team Capability
    Does your team —  especially leaders in high stakes roles — have what it takes to succeed within the new context? This requires both a short- and long-term view.  Your people need to be ready to quickly shift to the new demands and, at the same time, be prepared in terms of their knowledge, skills, and experience to succeed over the longer term.

    Aligning capabilities to goals is one of the best ways to motivate employees when strategy shifts.

  2. Inspire with a Compelling Vision
    Harness the passion and commitment of your team by articulating a clear and compelling vision of what you hope to become in the future. Compelling visions are future focused, inspiring, challenging, vivid, motivating, memorable, meaningful, emotional, purpose-driven, and unique.

    A meaningful purpose is one of the best ways to motivate employees when strategy shifts.

  3. Outline the Strategy and Then Listen
    Be clear about what it will take to achieve success and the immediate road map to get there. Then actively invite input and questions from your team.  Pay special attention to involving those who were not part of crafting the new strategic direction; they should participate heavily in designing how to best meet the new strategic objectives.

    Active involvement is one of the best ways to motivate employees when strategy shifts.

  4. Take a Step Back
    Once the team has understood and signed on to the new strategic plan, give them the resources they need to succeed and the leeway to do it their way. Share goals across functions and transparently publish milestones and shortfalls.  The team should work together to solve common problems and celebrate successes.

    Ownership is one of the best ways to motivate employees when strategy shifts.

  5. Reiterate the Message
    Help keep the team on target by repeatedly communicating the rationale for why the strategy is shifting and what’s in it for them individually and for the company as a whole. Then support them as they navigate through the challenges of doing their job in a new way.

    Open communication is one of the best ways to motivate employees when strategy shifts.

The Bottom Line
When you must change the strategy for the sake of the business, stay focused on how this will affect your workforce.  Position your team for success and then give them the support they need to get the job done and stay motivated.  You can’t execute the strategy without them.

To learn more about how to increase your chances of strategic implementation, download 3 Big Mistakes to Avoid When Cascading Your Corporate Strategy

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