Communicating your strategy is as important as creating it. If you don’t communicate your strategic direction to your internal and external stakeholders, what’s the point of having one in the first place?
For more resources on building your strategic plan, view the Essentials Guide to Strategic Planning.
“Hi, my name is Kim Perkins. The topic of today’s white board session is How To Effectively Communicate Your Strategy. Clearly, articulating your strategic plan is equally as important as creating it in the first place, Why? Because if your internal, and external stakeholders don’t understand your strategic direction, then what’s the point of having one in the first place? Let’s look real quickly at where we are on the strategic management process. You’ve developed your strategy, you’ve taken the time to refine it, perfect it, finalize it. You’re ready to communicate your strategy, you’re ready to roll it out, roll it out to who? Let’s think about our audience. You’ve got your internal audience, the people within your organization: directors, staff, individual contributors as well as your external audience: community members, donors, investors, people from an external perspective that care about the direction of your organization, and need to know. But what they need to know is very different.
The tip from all of this, is that information is all about relevancy. You want to think about which piece of your strategic plan is relevant to each person in your audience. Use this really simple communications matrix to guide your thinking as you get ready to launch the roll out of your plan. First, start by listing your audience members, internal, and external. Break up your plan by different pieces of information, and think about what is relevant to each. The board member is going to care about your mission, your vision, your long term strategic objectives, and your key performance indicators hypothetically. An individual staff member, sally Jones, she cares a lot about the ten action steps that she has to take to meet this department level goal; she also probably needs to know obviously the mission vision of the organization. If I’m a community member, I don’t care too much about the details of what my school district is doing as they launch their plan. But I’m really interested in that long term vision, and that long term direction the school is taking, and maybe the four things they’re doing this year. Go through this exercise for each audience member, make sure you’re thinking about the medium, by that I mean is it a PDF? Is it a power point? Is it a flyer? How are you delivering the information?
Delivery, if you’re delivering to the board member, this is likely going to be out of a board meeting for example. To the community members, possibly through a press release, a community engagement meeting. Staff members, it might be the director speaking directly to that individual staff member. So, you want to think about the message for delivery. Lastly, how often are you delivering the information? Now, it’s important to think about as you communicate your plan, not only rolling it out, but keeping the board, your audience in sync with how you’re doing against your plan, the progress against your plan. So, the board members probably want to know on a quarterly basis, maybe at the quarterly business reviews, how you’re doing against your key performance indicators. The community, may be a couple of times a year. As you go through this exercise think about frequency.
My last point on this, have fun, make this information interesting, give it some graphics, some color, deliver it with enthusiasm. This is your opportunity to share your strategic direction, have fun with it. ”