When developing and implementing strategy you are in the business of change, and you are fighting against the inertia of the status quo. Even the most brilliant plan won’t prevail against the forces of the status quo when the strategic thinking is complex. And let’s face it, given today’s environment of constant change, your plan has to be multifaceted to stay focused on your vision and respond to market conditions.
In this blog series: Is Your Strategic Thinking Multifaceted or Unfocused? I have been discussing how our innovative economy puts tremendous pressure on strategic planning efforts. I offer new disciplines to build into your planning and implementation so you can effectively balance your focus on your long-range goals while staying responsive to change. In this post,
I want to explore how strategic communication can play a vital role in embedding new thinking throughout your organization, effectively winning over the status quo and foster new strategic thinking capabilities to bridge the gaps created by high change.
More Than a Road Show
Most of us that have experienced the “All Hands” meeting scheduled directly after a planning process concludes. Typically these are meetings in which the senior leadership team shares their planning process and the new strategic priorities at a high level. There is a bit of time for Q & A, but at this point, there are few real details. Sadly, this is where most communication about the strategic thinking ends until the annual budgeting cycle begins. Dedicated teams are left to decipher both how to execute against the strategic goals and how to translate changing market demands or conditions relating to the new strategic thinking. Is it any wonder they frequently choose to ignore new priorities for what they know - the status quo?
To support execution of new multifaceted priorities, you must do more than just communicate them; you must actively re-frame problem-solving and tactical planning with the new strategic thinking. You must connect the dots between strategic objectives and the changing market conditions that are putting pressure on your current business model and legacy priorities. Continually seek out and engage in strategic thinking whenever and wherever an opportunity presents itself to drive the shift needed to implement the new direction.
To ensure new thinking replaces old thinking you must acknowledge and celebrate the smallest progress on your strategic plan. Acknowledging advancement will reinforce confidence in the new strategic focus and celebrating it will demonstrate a commitment to its goals.
Finally, you must repeat the new strategic direction, its goals and the core strategic thinking it is based upon repeatedly until you hear others parroting your words when they don’t know you are in the room. Having to say the same thing; tell the same story; make the same points is a frustration we often hear leaders voice. But it is part of the leadership role and a vital one at that.
Most of an organization’s activities are focused on the transactions of the business and, although you have their attention when you talk about the future, it does not take hold for those managing transactions until it impacts their daily work. So be patient; get used to telling the same story repeatedly and rely on your internal strategists to carry this strategic communication burden further into your organization.
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