To remain agile and competitive, your company must continuously adapt to keep pace with today’s increasingly fast-moving business world. How do you keep your staff “in the loop,” aligned and enthusiastic in the face of rapid-fire strategic challenges?
Leadership guru and Harvard business professor John Kotter suggests the following tips to share your strategy with staff in an effective, compelling and results-oriented manner.
Kotter recommends keeping your messaging:
- Short. Write it on less than a page, often just a quarter of a page. Short length makes it easier to share with others and to create a sense of urgency among large groups of people.
- Rational. Makes sense in light of real happenings inside and outside an organization. Concisely address the issues of what, why, why us, why now, and why bother.
- Compelling. It is not all head. There is heart in it. And it speaks to the emotions of all relevant audiences — not just to select people and groups, excluding others.
- Positive. Because it is about an opportunity, it has a positive tone. It is less like a statement about a “burning platform,” which seeks to scare us out of our complacency, and more like a statement of a “burning desire.”
- Authentic. It feels real. It is not just “good messaging” to motivate the troops. The senior leadership team must genuinely believe in it and feel excited about it.
- Clear. A great message makes people rush off in the same direction — not different directions.
- Aligned. The messaging aligns with any important existing vision statements. Or at the least, it is aware of any non-alignment, and the stresses and strains that will create, so leaders are prepared for it.
In Kotter’s experience, using these tips helped 75% of a large employee population to understand, believe in, and be energized by senior management strategic direction.
How – and how effectively – does your organization share its strategy with employees?
Lisa Goller helps businesses tell their story. As a Toronto-based Strategic Freelance Writer & Editor, she helps executives and entrepreneurs stand out, look good and save time. Learn more at lisagoller.com
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Kotter, John. “Forget the Strategy PowerPoint.” Harvard Business Review blog: HBR.org. April 22, 2014.