So you have told the story of the strategy, but do you back it up with actions. Are you communicating your strategy through your actions?
Examples of communicating your strategy through your actions
1) I want to encourage excellent customer service. I measure the time with a customer and set targets to minimise it so you speak to as many as possible.
What message am I giving? Correct. Move on as fast as possible and forget service.
2) I want to invest in supply chain efficiency. However we have an expensive project that supports none of the critical processes of the strategy. It’s a pet project of single Director.
What message does this give? Is this strategy being communicated effectively? I doubt it.
3) I want to recruit someone for a critical innovation project and have the ideal person through an unusual route. The personnel systems mean I have to advertise it on the open market. By the time I do that the person will be lost.
What message does that give about innovation? Is the organisation encouraging innovation?
4) Do the individuals understand:
• What can I influence?
• What can I contribute?
• Where can I help others?
• Where will I have an effect?
What can I do and what can I contribute?
Note difference between “what can I do?” and “What can I contribute?” The former says “Do this and we will succeed”. The latter says, “This is where I want us to go. I trust you to find a way to help as best you can”. They create quite different messages to the organisation.
So the how is not only about the steps on the way. It is about the levers to pull and understanding what will drive success. It is about identifying and communicating them.
It is also about the way the organisation thinks and works. Communication can be about ripping out old measures and procedures. Getting rid of practices and symbols from the old school communicates as much of a message as talking about the future. Their removal will as much be a communication of the strategic intent as all the presentations, workshops and events – and far, far, cheaper.