Making strategy happen means making sure it is simple to understand. The paradox is that there is nothing “simple” about strategic planning and charting a future course.
This is why we’ve focused our last two newsletters on gathering insights that come from employees and customers. One tweet we received after our last newsletter about the value of customer assessments and insights was that is “very hard to convince the foolish.”
This, frankly, is why some do not want to admit there is a need to do a customer or employee assessment, because who really wants to disclose that they aren’t already in tune with these two vital stakeholder groups?
Yet, it’s an unrealistic expectation for people to understand others through interactions alone. Just think about married couples that spend decades living together and yet drift apart? We should never think that just because we interact with others that we understand their motivation, their concerns or what really makes them happy.
At organizational levels, ‘listening’ to your stakeholders requires a diligence in reaching out consistently and pragmatism for taking action on the feedback. No matter how well you understand your employees and customers now, these insights need formalization to be properly woven into annual strategic planning cycles. Doing this will:
- Reveal the weaknesses / threats that could impact the retention of employees and customers.
- Understand what it takes to nurture the relationships you vitally depend upon for your success.
- Ensure the resources you place toward your strategic plan are well spent.
- Increase the odds that the strategic plan you ask employees to support is one that makes sense to them.
- Give customers a sense that you want their business for the long-haul. Using customer feedback will guide your employees to serve them better.
- Give clarity to the development of objectives and goals, to help make strategic planning more practical.
Be sure to participate in our next webinar Simple, Practical, Fast – Getting Your 2014 Plan Done, and we’ll talk more about what you can do now to get these stakeholder insights gathered and included in strategy. You can expect to understand more about how to weave in employee and customer insights into strategic plans, and ultimately help make plans something that will ‘ring true’ to employees and customers.
Because now more than ever, we need to not just acknowledge and react to customers and employees. We need to do what it takes to nurture these relationships for the long haul because it relates directly to sustainable success.
How are you plugging customer and employee insight into your strategic direction?