Just because your strategy makes sense to you, doesn’t mean it does to your employees

by David Grossman

You might have the most compelling vision for your organization, but if you can’t get it out of your head and get others to see it and believe in it, it might as well not even exist.

Just because the strategy makes sense to you doesn’t mean it will take only an instant for others to see it like you do. We often think that others think as we do, that others see the world as we do, but it’s more likely that there’s a lot of ground to cover between their perspective and yours. Employees come to their jobs with their own context, and it’s the leader’s job to help them understand the collective context, including how you see the marketplace today, and how that led to your strategy.

According to our research, a majority of employees globally don’t understand their company’s strategy and, as a consequence, how they fit in. Consider the possibility if even 10 or 20 percent more employees understood their jobs better. What might the impact be on productivity, innovation, or revenue?

It’s up to you to engage others so they have the same clear picture you do of your strategy and where the business is going. The reality is that some may have small windows into your view of the strategy, but very few have the whole picture like you do. Lift the perspective out of your head and get it into others’ so they can own it and help you achieve it.

– Put the strategy on a single piece of paper. Let it serve as a strategic framework that drives all work inside the organization.
– Share the strategic framework and ensure your leaders are aligned. Don’t stand for bobble-heads. – Give leaders the context behind the strategy so they understand how you got there and ask them to make the strategy relevant for their teams.
– Provide leaders training on how to use the tools. See them in action so you can coach them on how to communicate big-picture messages, along with that all-important personalization. Can your leaders make the strategy relevant to their teams?
– Use the strategic framework consistently in your communications with employees so it becomes familiar to them and they see what’s happening and how it ties to the strategy (they know what’s important when they see and hear it from multiple sources).
– As your thinking evolves about the strategy (quarterly, annually, etc.), update your framework and communicate regularly so employees are in the loop and understand the reasons behind decisions.
– Celebrate “wins,” always connecting back to and reinforcing the core elements of the strategy.

How can you better help employees understand your strategy so they can help you get there ahead of schedule?


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