Communicate the Strategy

Volume 5 Letter 9

A good business strategy exploits and strengthens a competitive advantage and must be communicated throughout the company. Business units might then adapt or modify the corporate strategy but in the end everyone must be completely clear about the tasks that must be done. They must be certain who will do those tasks and how they will be performed. Ask any individual what are the two or three key things that they or their business unit need to accomplish this year and the answers should always link back to the over all strategy and the role their business unit plays in executing it.

Great leaders know they must speak in clear, simple and uncomplicated terms so everyone knows exactly what is required. They leave no doubt where the company is going…and where it is not.

Successful communication is not measured by how much is said but rather in the clarity of what was said. The listener must “get it” and when they do they must be inspired to act. From clear communication people find courage – they get ready to fight. Say it as simply as you can and engage your people.

    • Use discussions not decks of slides: strategies on slide decks greater than ten to twelve slides are rarely well thought out and even more, rarely understood.

 

    • Synthesize: be prepared to discuss details (if asked) but keep the focus on the strategy and the overall picture – don’t dump data – it doesn’t impress anyone.

 

    • Understand your audience: Depending on the business unit and level in the organization a business strategy can affect audiences in different ways. Treat them like any other customer and speak to their needs. They must leave knowing what is expected of them and be motivated to do it.

 

  • Invite participation: Let team members come back with ideas on how they can better execute their part of the strategy.

Great leaders communicate the business strategy so it engages everyone and leaves no doubt what objectives will be achieved and by whom.

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