Communication of strategy is not just about talking. It’s about people being different. Those people having different needs. Thinking in different ways and having different views of the world. You can hear it in their language, see it in their behaviour, and sense it in their actions, emotions and persona. You have to account for this when yoiu plan to communicate your strategy to different types of people.
Communicate strategy to different types of people
It’s about how people view and rationalise things:
- Some people are toward people and look to the future – “Won’t it be great when as achieve this”. They really frustrate and get frustrated by the away from people who say “Yes but how will we get out of this/stop doing this/ win more customers”.
- Some people are “big chunk” and take the helicopter view, whilst others are “small chunk” and drive into the detail. “I can really see how this will change the way we do business”. “Yes, but what about the way they work in customer service”
- We all know a “But”er. No matter what you say, they will say “Ah, but…” and discuss the exception. They intrinsically agree with all the positive things, but never say so. They go straight to the exceptions and differences. They are a real frustration to the “matchers” who look for similarity in things – “Isn’t this just like the old strategy”. You know the conversations. But to a “But”er, the conversation is tedious, “We all agree on that – let’s sort out the issues and exceptions”.
Planning the message for different types of people
It’s the same with strategy. The executive team have spent a good amount of time gathering facts, developing hypotheses, thinking things through and done all these things amongst themselves. It’s too easy to try to short cut the approach for the rest of the organisation – Fanfare… Here it is and this is where we are going now.
It is much more about planning how the message will be communicated. Not just to who, but how, in a way that will touch their emotional senses, the way people think and the way they work.
Communicating strategy is about communicating the where?, the why? and the how? But it is also about:
- Communicating to people in a variety of different ways that touches the many different ways that people think and behave in your organisation.
- Communicating the messages and the actions: Where to focus attention and how high to jump.
- Giving everyone a sense of place and purpose: so they can think “How can I contribute to the strategy?”
Most importantly, communicating your strategy is a continuous process. Strategy formulation does not stop with the business plans. You need to sense what is going on, inside and outside the organisation and react to those signals. To listen to the feedback, learn and change the message or do something different if it is not working.
So strategy communication is just like any other effective communication. It’s a two-way process that requires rapport, listening skills and the ability to put yourself in the other person’s shoes.