20 Tips for Successful Strategy Implementation – Communicating Your Strategy

Posted by on Jun 6, 2011

Vision without action is merely a dream, just as a strategy without change is nothing but noble words.  So how do leaders turn the noble words of their strategies into successful change?  Our next four blog posts will describe 20 effective practices gleaned from our work with more than 100 client organizations to help you accelerate the implementation of your strategy.   This week – Communicating the Strategy.

Phase I: Communicating the Strategy

Unfortunately, the way most strategies are communicated generates more boredom than interest.  Here are 5 tips to help you stimulate interest in your strategy and begin gaining commitment.

1.            Don’t present, persuade!

When people get behind a strategy they can work wonders!  For this to happen, your strategy presentations must be a call to action, not mind-numbing business jargon.  We sometimes help clients create high-impact presentations that summarize the strategy and the discussions that led up to them.  Employees find it easier to buy-in to a strategy when they know what led to the decisions.  And having a record of your assumptions will help you assess and revise the strategy as the future unfolds.

2.            Play to your audience

You’ll probably present your strategy several times and to a variety of groups.  Why not customize your presentation for each audience?  Employees are more interested in operational details, managers are concerned with the balance between objectives and resources, while your board will probably focus on broader strategic issues.  It’s easy to adjust the balance of strategic and operational information to fit each audience, and it will make it easier for you to hold people’s interest and attention.

If you collected input from employees before creating the strategy, use it to capture their interest during your presentation.  Post their issues in the room during your presentation.  Invite them to “tick off” the issues the strategy addresses as the presentation proceeds.  They’ll feel their input was heard and valued, and it will help you address their concerns in your presentation.

3.            Get people involved

If you’re counting on managers and employees to take initiative, don’t kick off your strategy with a one-way presentation.  Stimulate discussion by introducing your strategy in round-table discussion sessions.  One meeting format we’ve used brings together several members of the corporate strategy team and 50 or more employees at a time.  Participants sit at round tables with up to ten others.  Two must be members of the corporate strategy team.  The strategy is presented to the whole group in bite-sized chunks.  After each section, ten to thirty minutes are allotted for discussion in the round-table groups.  The process is repeated until the entire strategy has been presented and discussed, chunk by chunk.

4.            Set realistic expectations

Make sure your presentation emphasizes the time and hard work that will be needed to make your strategy a success.  Show employees a simple time-line on an overhead and hand out a copy.  Tell them what you’ll need from them.  If there are details you don’t know yet, tell them when they can expect an update.  Be sure to follow-through!

5.            Be prepared to make changes

No matter how sure you are that your strategy is right, be open to questions and suggestions.  Resist with all your might any tendency to be defensive.  If you seem unreceptive, you’ll kill dialogue and undermine support.  Prove you’re open to ideas by making changes to the strategy, right there in the session, when ideas surface that add value.

Coming next week - 5 tips to help you align your organization to accelerate and enhance the success of your strategy.

Copyright 2011 Knowlan Consulting Group Inc.