If you want your strategic plan to get traction, communicating it in a purposeful manner is essential. Don’t just give it lip service. “Communication” and “Teamwork” are more than words that appear on the motivational posters collecting dust in cubical halls across the country.
Spring has sprung and it’s time to do a clean sweep. Don’t misinterpret the intent here: Upon first reading, the practical wisdom in the posters is nice. It’s soft, fuzzy and maybe even inspirational, but at the end of the day inspiration does not belong on a wall collecting dust.
For example, there must be hundreds of sayings about the importance of communication skills in business. Many leaders already know how to communicate, but the failure is when communication is not prioritized as an internal management function.
So here’s the fast-forward into application: Do yourself a favor right now and map out your communication in a methodical, purposeful manner. Here are your questions to ask yourself before you expect your strategy to get any traction:
- Make it consistent: How and how often do you connect with the key groups in your organization? Identify every stakeholder segment: Directors, Managers, Team Leaders, Staff, Customers and place your outreach approach and timing on a map.
- Make the connection clear: Does your mission drive your messaging and adhere to values that keep your customer experience a central focus? Does your messaging focus on learning and lessons that get you closer to your broader objectives?
- Make it count: Repeat what needs to be reinforced, but make sure the message evolves to remain relevant. Evaluate where you are in your action paths and make progress a transparent thing. When progress isn’t occurring, this is your chance to get back into your plan, evaluate the obstacles and breath new life into stagnant areas.
- Listen to what’s heard: How much of what is being communicated is acted upon? Get a handle on what matters most to each stakeholder group and tailor your message about strategy accordingly. One size does not fit all.
Just because people listen when you talk doesn’t mean your point is getting across in any meaningful way for advancing your strategy; just as motivational posters don’t inspire us to jump over boulders or skydive. Analyze how information is effective for driving action in your organization, ideally before you try to execute the next version of your strategic plan.
How can you improve your internal communications?