All the work has been done. A solid vision with substance and meaning exists. The SWOT assessment is interpreted, the competitive position determined, the key objectives set, and the implementation plan charted for a flawless forge forward.
It’s an accomplishment to celebrate — at this point some might even call your strategic plan inspirational!
Then after a few months you realize something has happened to this magnificent creation, or more accurately nothing has happened because the only time anyone talks about strategy is at the end of the year. And that’s the threat.
Without a doubt, the number one killer of effective strategy execution is lack of communication. The best plan can be crafted and the best implementation set, yet the crucial third leg of this tri-pod is communication, and without it the whole structure falls like a tree in the forest… and no one was listening. (See three examples of well-communicated strategy.)
Stay out of this philosophical quandary and keep these key points in mind when crafting a communication plan of your strategy to stakeholders:
Be Crisp. Make the messaging matter to the audience by sticking to timely and pertinent components of your strategy. This includes the effective design of slides, documents, even memos. If your design can’t communicate the point in under 30 seconds, you’ve just lost your audience to their iPhone (or whatever convenient distraction is closest).
Be Consistent. No strategy moves forward without the coordination of many. This takes consistency in reporting on strategic topics, tasks or goals. Monthly check-ins that take approx. 10-15 minutes and quarterly reviews for a deeper dive are a good start.
Be Comprehensive. Strategy by definition is a broad future scope. The only way to know it remains viable is by tracking its smaller components. Automation is any strategy manager’s friend here, and effective visualization into progress across the board is imperative for even medium-sized plans. (Because who has time to format reports?)
For the sake of any future planning effort, identify audiences and channels (video) now and structure your communication calendar and planning calendar. Not doing so is an affront to the time, energy, passion and expense invested in creating the plan in the first place. Worst case? Blowing off your communication makes ‘strategic planning’ become a loathed concept and a dreaded exercise.
Stay on a high note in 2014. Kindly close this newsletter and check out some ideas on effective execution of your magnificent plan. The New Year holds promise for those who plan, perform and communicate clearly the organization’s strategic progress!