Your company strategy may be the brainchild of your best strategic minds. It may even be the best possible path forward. But it probably won’t come to a proper fruition unless everyone comprehends and accepts it.
Why business strategy is for everyone to know
You will struggle to move forward as a company if you restrict knowledge of your strategic approach. Therefore, you should plan to inform all staff of the strategy plan at some level. Firstly, this mitigates employees feeling as if they simply receive information in a top-down manner. Secondly, giving people a chance to understand and respond gives a better chance for engagement. Furthermore, it reinforces where the business is heading, and can help staff cement their roles as part of the strategy.
The converse of this is also true. Failing to communicate strategy inadvertently shows a lack of direction, or worse, a lack of caring. It’s a risk that simply isn’t worth taking. Fortunately, it is easy to create adequate communication to drive business. The hard part is committing to it and following through each time you update your strategy.
The grapevine simply won’t do
Unless your staff are truly disconnected, they realise that business strategy doesn’t appear out of thin air. They are aware that it’s their top management who are responsible for strategic design. Thus, for them to appreciate this, it should be the very same decision makers who tell them about that strategy. Not only is this more effective, but it also prevents the loss or change of the message.
Larger organisations may find this unfeasible. In such cases, instead of addressing staff directly, strategy authors should use alternative means of direct communication with staff. For example, a mass communication to the entire organisation, or recording the strategy talk and sharing it with everyone. Having more than one format also means you’re more likely to include your reasons why as well as how you wish to execute the plans.
Furthermore, make sure that you tie your strategy in with your company’s vision and mission. This is critical for continuity of both.
Try and foster discussion of the business strategy among as many employees as possible. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, you are asking staff to make a connection between the strategy and their own personal roles and development goals. This is the best way to link your strategy to any desired changes in behaviour. Secondly, by asking them to think out loud and talk it all through, you’re automatically asking for help in pointing out any potential pitfalls.
You will find that both of these are immensely helpful in creating better strategy in future. In addition, the acceptance and adherence to the strategic goals will be far greater.
In addition, this will also be of great benefit to you outward-facing staff. They will be buoyed by their commitment to the strategy process, and this positivism can be perceived by the rest of the world.
Rinse, reuse and repeat
How often have you had an imperfect process simply because you could not recall the specifics behind it? Strategy works the same way. If you want to achieve continuity, you will need to drill home the message again and again. Don’t be afraid to do so until people are tired of hearing it; there’s practically no such thing as over-communicating strategy. Not only will you become better at explaining it, but others will remember it better as well.
A good way to keep the ball rolling is to create strategy goals that you can easily make part of people’s daily tasks. This may require some creativity from the start, but it will save you a lot of tactical work later on. Finally, make sure that your leadership positions send the message and act on it constantly.
Business strategy is retrospective as well
Don’t forget to look back once in a while.
This is an invaluable learning process, both for strategic thinkers and implementers. Reviewing successes and failures (and communicating them to all) will show you where you managed to get it right. It will also show you which parts you need to improve for a better strategy success next time. If you wish to maximise the gains from this process, once again involve your entire staff. You will benefit from many more perspectives to draw knowledge from. They will benefit from greater inclusion and having a greater role in their organisation’s success.
Adept is a firm believer in strategic communication. We believe our staff have a vested interest in our company, and as such it is part of our company culture to share our strategy with all our colleagues.