In our experience as executive coaches, many CEOs and C-Level leaders express frustration about their organization’s strategic vision — especially when new directions are developed. Not that they are unhappy with the strategic vision itself — most are excited and passionate about what they do, why, and where they are headed. The frustration is that the “troops” seem to be unenthusiastic about, and disconnected to, the new direction.
The hours and hours spent evaluating, crafting, and fine-tuning a compelling and inspiring vision or strategic statement for the company sometimes falls flat with employees outside the C-Suite. As a result, the new vision or strategy fails to gain traction.
There are many reasons this may occur, from quiet, passive disagreement with the new strategy or vision to the fact that many leaders believe a single all-staff meeting announcing the new strategy or vision will allow them to check-off the box and think, “I explained the new strategy to everyone, so now, they get it.” In many cases, it’s simply that there is a change: please read more about change, “Your Brain on Change.”
Connecting Strategy to Work
One significant, often overlooked, aspect of introducing a new high-level strategy or vision to your organization is the degree to which it is clearly connected to your employees’ day-to-day work. Almost all strategic statements, vision statements, and mission statements are broadly aspirational. They address ideas, concepts, and a future state that sounds great, but they are 30,000-foot level statements. And that’s OK. That’s their purpose. They should be designed to view the organization at a high level.
However, there’s a next step that needs to be taken — link your thoughtful, exciting, forward-looking strategy, vision, or mission statement to the actual work that your employees do every day.
1. Identify the different groups in your organization that need to understand and implement the new strategy and define how the 30,000-foot statement relates to them. What does the new vision or strategy mean, specifically, to project managers? Your logistics and supply chain team? The finance department? Your new business development group?
2. Edit and adapt the organization-wide strategic vision statement you have created to clearly translate 30,000-foot ideas and goals to boots-on-the-ground actions and behaviors. How will your employees know when their work is aligned with the new strategy or vision? Each group should have its own version of the organizational statement that helps them answer the question, “We’ll know we are successfully executing the strategic vision when…”
3. Don’t craft these supportive, next level statements in the boardroom. Involve managers and employees down the line — a group of people working in logistics and supply chain should be engaged in developing the messages that help clearly connect the organization’s big picture with their day-to-day work.
NOW, your exciting new strategic vision stands a chance of being embraced and carried out by your employees!
To learn more about effective communication and strengthening your leadership skills, contact Arden Coaching at [email protected] or 646.684.3777.