The Two Critical Elements of Strategy

You’ve come up with a new strategy as a result of your most recent off-site meeting. Great!

Now how are you going to get the word out to your one thousand employees? Are you getting posters designed to illustrate your new mission, vision, or purpose? Are you stuffing paycheck envelopes with a document listing the five new goals of the organization?  Are you creating FAQs for your mid level leaders so they can play an active part in rolling out your new strategy?

Well, the sad truth is, most midmarket companies don’t take these actions. If they establish a new strategy,  it’s often rather complicated and the CEO fails to share it with others; for some reason, they keep it a secret!  Other times, a CEO does try to get the word out but does so in a way that the Reverend Bill Hybels of Willow Creek Community Church calls the “Mt. Sinai approach.” He came up with this phrase because Moses came down from Mt. Sinai with the two tablets denoting the Ten Commandments and demanded that they be followed. That top-down approach might have worked for Moses, but it doesn’t work in today’s business climate!

Well-defined

Your strategy needs to be well-defined; crystal clear.  The CEO and everyone down the line has to be able to talk about the strategy with clarity.  Ambiguous strategies have cracks and these cracks lead to a diversity of opinion when it comes to execution.  Many midmarket companies that are top heavy in their leadership fall into this trap.  A CEO may think she is clearly outlining the strategy, but when it comes to implementation, the next generation of leaders are filling in these cracks of ambiguity with their own answers.  This rarely leads to a cohesive strategy implementation.

Clearly Communicated – Persistent and Consistent

If you don’t go home sick and tired of communicating, you haven’t done it enough!

That has to be your mantra when rolling out a new or varied strategy.  You’ve heard all the numbers on how long it takes to break a habit.  It’s either 21 days or 17 times or something like that.  The point to remember is that you have to be both persistent and consistent.  Find as many ways as possible to talk about your new direction, your new strategy.  Make sure your senior leaders and next generation leaders really understand the strategy and its implications.  Use emails, tweets, facebook, posters in the cafeteria, ads, video clips from the CEO, newsletters, face to face meetings.  Use every old and new communications device at your disposal.

Executives in midrange companies often don’t take the time to excite, coach, cajole, and mentor their stakeholders and their employees with regard to new strategies. They fail to do so at their peril.

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