Lots of time is spent developing a strategy and planning its implementation. Yet a simple fact remains: no matter how good the thinking behind the strategy, if it is not in the heads, hearts and hands of the people who need to execute it, it has been a waste of time.
Of course, it is helpful to have it available for reference on the shelf or in the computer, and to keep the auditors happy. But (Big but) If that is where it stays, on a shelf, it is a waste of paper, and it has been a waste of management time and effort. If the strategies and plans are not in people’s heads you might as well burn all the strategies and plans.
Communicating Strategy is about communicating and socialising that strategy, getting that engagement and getting feedback from it. As you read through this book and think about the questions it raises, the suggestions it makes, and the examples it uses, you will see how it is designed to help you get the strategy into the heads of your people and develop that engagement.
The book is designed to help you build skills, think through the issues, and develop a plan for communicating your strategy. Of course, that plan should be in your head, which is why it is not formalized until the end of the book. By the time you reach it you will have developed lots of ideas and have started putting them into action.
A wide range of experiences in a wide variety of sizes and types of organization has gone into this book. These organizations range from large commercial and multi national companies to small family run businesses, from large public sector bodies to city councils, from dot.coms, through traditional manufacturing companies to pure service organizations. You can apply the ideas and experience in this book to them all.
Into the heads of your people….
At a minimum, the strategy must explain the simple logic of
- “What is going on?”
- “How do we understand the situation?”
- “Where are we going, and why?” and
- “How are we going to get there?”.
This will get it into the heads of your people.
Into the hearts of your people…
But into their heads is not not enough. It is also about getting to the hearts of your people. Whilst the cold logic of Star Trek’s Mr Spock is useful, it is the emotional commitment and engagement that often makes the biggest difference. The passion with which people engage customers or commit to activities makes a massive difference to people’s productivity and results. It also makes a big difference to how people feel about being at work and how the organization’s community and society plays in their lives. This passion and commitment will come from the passion and commitment you have when you communicate the strategy.
Into the hands of your people….
It is also about getting it into the hands of people, so actions are taken. Many strategies have had compelling logic and been passionately delivered, but have still failed in their execution. Sometimes the organization itself acts to stop change happening. Sometimes people need a compelling wake up call. Sometimes, people simply need to know that they have permission to act differently and no longer be constrained by the rules that bound them. So, whilst this book is about communicating your strategy in an organization, it is applicable to communicating all sorts of changes in an organization, its culture and its values.
If you have achieved this you will have gone quite a way to socialising your strategy
Phil Jones, Author, Communicating Strategy