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13 Steps to Communicating a Strategic Plan to Employees

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5) Reveal the competition – Describe your competitive advantage and disadvantages even providing some specific examples. In other words, name the competition. It may surprise you to learn how few people actually think about the impact that competition has on your business and direction.

6) Compare and contrast – Compare past planning processes with current ones. Some organizations have had very bad plans or poor execution of plans, which can give you a bad rap among employees. If you are not specific about how this year is different from the past you may have a tsunami of resistance against your planning before you have even begun to change it. Get ahead of the resistance by naming the difference.

7) Connect employees to the plan – Describe how the plan differs from the past strategies. If you went out to employees with surveys, make sure they understand how they participated in the creation of the plan. Making connection points with employees will help find a mental place for them to store the information you are sharing. Without this many companies disconnect with their people and it directly impacts employee engagement. Dow Corning uses a matrix that focuses on Intellectual Understanding and Emotional Commitment of their employees. Those that are high in both are considered Champions. If you execute your communication plan well you are more likely to develop Champions within your organization.

8) Describe the plan and what barriers will likely appear that may prevent your organization from achieving its vision, mission, objectives and actions. Remember that all employees have different levels of understanding so make sure that you not only describe the numeric of the plan but what the terms mean and why they are meaningful to understanding the business. We all have different stages in our learning. Differentiate between signal and noise for your employees to determine relevancy.

9) Provide handout of the plan (Don’t handout information that you would not want your competitors to see – it is a fine line of who to share what information with – within the company). If your plan is in book format please do yourself a favor don’t pass that out. Provide the critical information that will help support your employees doing their job.

10) Point out the differences – Describe the way in which you would imagine how these differences would show up in behaviors in the organization. The greater the clarity of how these changes will impact each individual the higher your return on both your planning and your communication delivery.

11) Ask them what they believe will be different and the same. Often times leaders don’t want to ask questions because they are afraid of what they may hear. Remember just because you don’t hear it does not mean that they are not thinking those thoughts and discussing them among each other. The only difference of you asking is that you now will know what is going on for them.

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