How to Get Your Team to Fully Commit to the Strategy

Picture of leaders starting at a strategic plan to Team to Fully Commit to the Strategy

Would You Like Your Team to Fully Commit to the Strategy?
Smart leaders know it is imperative to get their team to fully commit to the strategy.  And our organizational alignment research backs them up.  Strategy clarity accounts for 31% of the difference between high and low performing organizations in terms of revenue growth, profitability, customer loyalty, leadership effectiveness, and employee engagement.

Strategic Commitment Is Different Than Strategic Agreement
Getting your team to fully commit to the strategy is different than having your team agree with the strategic direction.  For strategic commitment to occur, you need more than your executive team’s simple “okay.” You need your team to fully commit their hearts and their minds to the strategy by devoting their time, their energy, their resources, and perhaps most importantly, their influence.

Without strategic commitment, new strategies often falter in the face of change, cultural misalignment, and uncertain outcomes.

Seven Ways to Measure Strategic Commitment Levels
If you want your team to fully commit to the strategy, you need to talk with each leader to make sure that they:

  1. Clearly understand the strategy
  2. Buy into the rationale for the plan
  3. Believe in the necessity of executing the strategy for the good of the business
  4. Believe in the necessity of executing the strategy for the good of their team
  5. Believe in the necessity of executing the strategy for the good of themselves
  6. Are willing to hold themselves and their teams accountable for full implementation
  7. Feel that the strategic direction is implementable in your unique corporate culture and your unique marketplace

Do Not Begin Strategy Execution Until You Have Strategic Commitment
If you sense hesitation or disagreement from anyone on the leadership team or from any key stakeholders, now is the time to uncover it – before one of your key players knowingly or unknowingly sabotages the effort. It may just be a matter of giving them time to adjust to the changing situation. Remember, change never comes easily, and you must realistically expect some resistance.

How to Bring Around Strategic Naysayers
If you encounter naysayers, you may need to try to bring them around with more than a persuasive discussion or compelling data.  Try taking them on a journey of discovery. Let them experience the difference between doing things the old way and what it will feel and look like doing things according to the new strategic plan.

Three Examples of a Journey to Improve Strategic Commitment for Different Strategic Objectives

  1. If Your Strategy Is Based on a Shift to Sell Solutions Instead of Products
    Go on a sales call with a rep that sells the “old way.”  Then go on a sales call with a rep that sells the “new way.”  Discuss the differences in how the customer perceives your brand and what it means for the business in the short- and long-term.  You can also visit customers who have bought products.

    Then visit customers who have bought solutions.  What is the difference between the buyers, the relationships, the perceived value, and the compelling buyer event that triggered the purchase?  Visit other companies outside of your industry that have already used solution selling training to transitioned to selling solutions.

    What can you learn from them?  What changes in behavior are required to market and sell the new way?  What are the risks to selling the old way?  Give your team opportunities to experience, at the customer level, how business will be different and what it means for them and their teams.

  2. If Your Strategy Is Based On Improving Customer Satisfaction
    Take your team on a tour of the contact center.  Show them the difference between a call where the rep had to pass along a customer from one level to another (insert any phone company here) and where the rep was given authority to simply and quickly solve the customer’s problem (think Zappos).

    It is easy to see how one interaction ends up with a frustrated customer and the other with a loyal customer.  What does that mean for the business?  What changes in behavior will result in more satisfying customer interactions?

    Give your team opportunities to experience, at the customer level, how business results will be improved and discuss what it means for them and their teams.

  3. If Your Strategy is Based On Engaging and Retaining Top Talent
    Meet with high performing managers who have proven  management skills AND have high levels of employee engagement and retention.  Interview their teams to get a sense of what is working for them.  Then do the same for low performing managers.

    Identify some real-life management scenarios that show the “before” and the “after.”  Let employees experience the frustration of being managed poorly and the greater motivation of an employee who is managed well.

The Bottom Line
To help you team to fully commit to the strategy, you may need to take your team out of the board room and into the trenches.  Ask hesitant leaders what specifically they would need to have happen to champion the new strategies.  Then work with them, and their teams, to make it a reality.

To learn more about creating strategic commitment, download 5 Expert-Tips to Better Communicate Your Strategy

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