September 19, 2017

Communicating Strategy is No Easy Task – 3 Essential Rules for Doing it Well

Lessons learned to improve communication related to organizational strategyConducting effective communication around your organization’s strategy, roadmap and metrics is a process without an ending.

But rather than becoming exhausted by this, leaders need to get even better at communicating strategy if they are to benefit from the opportunities that good communication can surface for your organization.

We’ve worked with dozens of organizations to develop their strategic direction and underlying strategies and, along the way, we’ve also learned a few lessons on how to improve communication related to strategy and create a more transparent organization in the process.

The fact is that if everyone in your organization truly understands the strategy, each person will be able to provide more valuable feedback for moving forward, and you’re also going to see far greater success much sooner.

The best tools and techniques for communicating strategy will vary based on the size, type and scope of your organization, but there are a few practices that work well across all organizations. Try them out for yourself as you take our recommended action for this month.

ACTION FOR THE MONTH

Don’t rely on written communication alone when presenting strategy.

People have many different learning styles so you need to present your strategy in many different ways to ensure you’re not only reaching everyone, but also that everyone remembers and understands. So, be creative in how you present the plan because a unique and creative presentation that uses multiple formats (written, verbal, visual, experiential) is difficult to forget.

Make the message clear and relevant.

Prevent ambiguity by not using too many buzzwords or acronyms when defining the strategic terms in your plan. This is the time to use language that is crystal clear. It’s difficult for people to get on board and invested in a strategy if they are unclear about its intent or it’s left open to their own interpretation.

Ensure communication is a two-way street.

It’s important for leadership to communicate the strategy top-down to everyone in the organization. But it’s equally important that there are systems and forums for bottom-up communication. These should be available during the initial stages of strategy development and all the way through the metrics phase. Let your team know that you want their feedback and provide them with the forums to give it.

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