The strategic plan is done. Too many end up in the trash heap of dead possibilities. To avoid that, it’s time for dreaming to transition to doing, but you can’t do it alone. Communication is the starting point for execution and you only get one chance to be new.
Here are 10 tips to support you in communicating a new strategic direction effectively…
- Be clear about intention “ The overall communication plan and each component of it, should be aligned with the desired outcome. If the intention is top floor to shop floor engagement in a new strategic direction, simply telling people about that new direction is not adequate.
- Continuity is critical “ A leader’s words and actions must be aligned and consistent, top floor to shop floor.
- Telling does not equal understanding “ A good strategic plan requires changes with new and different things to be done and new ways of doing what needs to be done. There is a natural human resistance to change. Stories, dialogue, Q & A and good listening is essential to engage people in the needed changes. Communicate, communicate, communicate, and when you are tired of communicating, do it some more.
- Commanding commitment doesn’t work. People may do what is asked or directed in alignment with the stated change, at least when you are watching. The magic of discretionary effort comes from commitment. Leaders earn commitment.
- Don’t shoot the naysayers. The good people needed for success may not initially be all in with changes in direction. Listen to concerns. Ask questions, be empathetic, and coach. Help people get on board but don’t waiver in your commitment to the direction, the people and the future.
- Tap the network of informal opinion leaders. There are people in your business who don’t hold leadership titles, yet are the folks that others pay attention to. Engage them early.
- Be aggressive in recognizing and rewarding the positive actions of early adopters. There is big leverage here.
- Persistent multi-mode communication over time is good. Madison Avenue like hyperbole, BS and manipulation is bad.
- Respect WIIFM. Everyone cares about What’s in it for me? There are situations where the price/rewards ratio in the strategy does not compute for an individual. Additional one-on-one communication is required here. Respect and empathy help. Attempts to soften reality don’t.
- You have to meet people where they are, to help them move to where they need to be. Craft the message to be understood by the audience.