Talk your strategic plan to staff

You spend hours as a management team tirelessly working on your company's strategic plan. Data points are checked, the future is envisaged, and the words are carefully chosen to describe where you are going from here.

You leave your two-day meeting with confidence in your strategic plan and are enthusiastic about your future path.

But what do you really have? A document that summarizes your management meeting.

It may contain your strategic plan, but it is just another document until approved and activated by your staff.

Leadership communication is about developing and implementing strategies Action:

  • A vision is just that until someone acts on it
  • A strategy is just that until someone acts on it
  • A goal is just that until someone acts on it

It is important that you communicate your strategy consistently across the company.

All you have to do is done by people. And for your strategy to last, you need to communicate it thoroughly, consistently, and across the organization and help employees know what it means to them.

Here are some common tools for communicating your strategy:

  • A strategy communication plan Outline the approach and reps channels your communications team will use to share the strategy, as well as the consistent cadence and timing of the information to cement it in the minds and hearts of the reps. (This communication plan provides details and when to provide the communication tools that you will want to provide, such as the following.)
  • Message card – The core news and consistent language that you, executives across the company, and the communications team use to talk about the strategy and help employees understand what it means to them. This would include a summary or "elevator speech" as well as key headings and supporting examples of the "what, why, when and how" of the strategy.
  • A visual summary or infographic Present the key aspects of the strategy in a compelling way so that people can quickly “get” what you're talking about and understand what they need to do.
  • A master presentation (sometimes called a "walk-around deck") This allows you and your colleagues to share the key elements and consistently describe the strategy at all levels of the organization.
  • A virtual "round table" for all employees, in which you discuss the strategy, what it means for your business areas and what you expect from the employees.
  • Functional / local allhand or town hall meetings Follow the cross-company presentation where you and other executives share your own insights with your teams and help connect their work to the broader strategy.
  • Ongoing e-newsletter or magazine for the strategy focused on the vision for the future and examples of how the strategy is activated across the company.
  • Blog or post on Teams, Slack, or other internal social media to reinforce important behaviors and to regularly inform employees about the progress in the implementation of the strategy.
  • An intranet site Access to resources like those mentioned above.

Make the most of your town hallTown halls are often one of the best ways for executives to connect with employees in meaningful ways, especially for global companies with remote employees. Download this free e-book and get insights into using your town halls to connect employees with executives and their business strategy today.

Managers who are exciting for the future encourage employee engagement

Research shows that the way you behave and communicate as a leader is directly related to your team's engagement, which in turn can create strong links with strategy. The Gallup organization, which has been involved in engagement for decades, notes time and again that “engaged employees achieve better business results in terms of industry, company size and nationality in good and bad economic times”. The survey “Trends in Global Employee Engagement” by the personnel consultancy Kincentric from 2019 confirms that executives who show committed behavior influence the engagement of their teams. Of more than five million respondents from 86 countries, 66% said that executives' ability to create excitement about the future of the company was a key driver of engagement.

Communication is a way to create that excitement and engagement in your team and pave the way for a stronger connection with strategy. Executives who want to help their teams understand strategy play a critical role in bringing it to life across the organization.

Here are some other tools you can use to help staff keep the bigger picture and how their work can help achieve the strategy:

  • Leader Communications Toolkit – a combination of content and guidance to communicate what you need to know, do and share about the strategy in order to bring it to life with the staff. This includes some of the tools mentioned above, including messaging, infographics, and discussion point presentations to provide consistent information.
  • Leading webinar on communication to further develop the strategy – With an emphasis on the importance of key executives' communication and behavior to drive strategy forward, the webinar will demonstrate how to use the toolkit. It also provides guidance on how to deal with difficult questions and answers, as well as how to communicate consistently with the team.

Regardless of whether the data is convincing or the vision laid down in your strategic plan inspires, it is only a document until it is communicated with the employees and activated. Targeted and consistent communication from both internal communications and executives will make all the difference in bringing your strategy to life.

Which of these communication tools and approaches do you think are best for communicating your strategic plan in your company?

– David Grossman

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