Communicate Your Plan to Key Audiences
Good communication unlocks many organizational mysteries, so the fact that communicating your business strategy is critical to your success isn’t surprising. When the owner(s), executives, and managers continually demonstrate the link between strategy and specific business decisions, staff members are encouraged to think strategically as well.
After the initial goal-setting process is complete, devise a plan for communicating those goals. Your communication plan falls into these three scenarios, which are explained in the sections that follow:
Waiting until the plan is close to completion to start talking about it: Instead of waiting, obtain feedback and get buy-in from employees early in the process. By facilitating upfront communication, you head off any resistance that may occur later on.
Rolling out the plan when you feel it’s as close as it’ll be to completion: Consistently communicate the plan to everyone in the organization.
Continuing to communicate how the execution of your plan is going: Doing so keeps the plan top of mind and everyone committed to achieving the goals.
In a recent budgeting process in Washoe County, Nevada, one of the county commissioners required that every budget request support the organization’s strategic priorities. Now that’s top-level commitment! All the departments quickly figured out how to match their initiatives with the strategy.
Don’t assume that individuals will automatically buy in to your plan. What may seem clear to the planning team may not be clear to those not as involved in the strategy development. Give employees an opportunity to get involved in the process by setting up a feedback mechanism, such as a brown-bag lunch question-and-answer forum, a suggestion box, or a one-on-one meeting. Doing so gives employees a chance to respond as well.
By gathering and responding to feedback, you facilitate employee buy-in and build a broader understanding of the organization’s goals and objectives. If you don’t get people to buy in to the plan, the plan may ultimately fail.
You can also take it a step further and share the strategic plan with other stakeholders, like investors, customers, alliance partners, vendors, and so on. An open approach can generate more helpful ideas and suggestions about the future of your business.