“They don’t get the strategy!” These were precisely the words the chief executive used. ‘They just do NOT get the strategy!’.
This was not a small company: it was listed on the FTSE100. So what was the situation?
- It was not a particularly new strategy, as they had been implementing it for around two years.
- It wasn’t a particularly new management team, and the chief executive had been in post around four years.
- It was a well researched and documented strategy. It was so well documented that it took me a week to go through all the strategy documents I had been given as background reading.
Yet the chief executive was still frustrated. As far as he was concerned, ‘They didn’t get the strategy’. If they don’t get it, then it is unlikely to be implemented or deliver the results.
He was right to be frustrated.
They don’t get the strategy, is a common cry
He is not alone and the problem is not peculiar to his type of organization. I have heard this complaint, in all sorts of organizations from large commercial, to public sector bodies, from medium-sized listed companies, to family and privately owned organizations. Despite all the valiant efforts of the management team, the message is not getting through as intended by as the person who conceived it.
Yet some organizations communicate their strategy really well. They manage to communicate what they want to achieve and how they will go about it. They get people motivated and remove the blocks that have prevented the strategy from working in the past; blocks that may be deeply embedded within the culture of the organization. They get people behind the strategy, adding to it and making it work in their part of the business. In short, they make it happen.
Ways around “They don’t get the strategy”, so they get it
Communicating Strategy is about what you can do to make the difference in communicating your strategy. It provides you with the tools you can use to plan how the strategy will be communicated. It presents techniques to help communicate the strategy. It equips you with ways to think about how strategy is communicated, analyze what might have gone wrong in the past and make decisions about the best way to get your strategy across. There are some techniques you will be able to apply immediately and others you can incorporate into your communication plans.
If you want people to understand your strategy you need to have a good look at how you are communicating your strategy, think about how to go deeper and socialise your strategy. If you want to develop your plans for strategy communication, then working through my book, Communicating Strategy will help you develop and deliver a well thought through plan to communicate your strategy.
Phil Jones, Author Communicating Strategy