The folks at Armada Corporate Intelligence shared, via their “Inside the Executive Suite” feature, a number of ideas to improve the effectiveness of rolling out your strategic planning document for the upcoming year. They were gracious enough to let us feature the six approaches since there’s still time to improve the effectiveness of how you introduce your strategic plan. We list each of their suggestions followed by our own thoughts in italics.
6 Ways to Make an Impact with this Year’s Strategic Planning Document
New ideas and strategic planning initiatives are ready to roll out, but strategies often aren’t developed with a full understanding of the audiences most affected by them. This can create a mismatch between executives sharing new strategic planning documents and those on the receiving end that are expected to implement them.
While some approaches for smooth strategy roll-outs could be too late to implement, there are multiple possibilities to improve the experience and impact.
Create messaging focused on audience benefits and motivations
While the inclination is often to communicate a plan based on the external factors that justify the direction, it’s far better to communicate a plan in language that motivates the relevant audiences to understand how successful plan implementation helps them be successful in helping the organization be successful.
Make sure the plan language SOUNDS like the audience
If you’re strategic plan sounds like freshly-minted MBA consultants put it together, STOP! Even if you don’t have time to revise all the language throughout the plan, at least make sure the shortened version you share with your organization SOUNDS like they talk. Make the language so simple that anyone in the organization knows what the plan means for them individually and what they need to do to make it successful.
Give potential influencers an early look
Who are the operations leaders, sales veterans, and others that all the rest of the organization will look to for cues on what to think about the strategic plan? Spend the time to identify the list of people matching these descriptions and then invest the time to reach out and give them an early look on what you plan to share with the rest of the organization. You want to make sure they’re bought in and saying ALL the right things about the strategic plan.
Shorten what you’re communicating to a single page or infographic
Do whatever it takes to come up with a one-page version of the plan for each audience you need to embrace, own, and actively implement the plan. Make it easy for people to understand what they need to do!
Identify opportunities for user customization in the strategy
Don’t be ridiculous . . . you haven’t covered EVERYTHING people need to do in your strategic plan. Be upfront and identify where employees have latitude to make good business decisions and customize how they approach and implement the organization’s strategic plan.
Communicate the strategy in a compelling way this year
Don’t send out a plan and expect ANYONE will read your email with the plan attachment. Just as you try to cut through the clutter with your customer communication, think about all the boring, crappy internal communications that create clutter internally. Then do something completely different and exciting to share this year’s plan!
There Is Still Time
As the folks at Armada suggested, you can pick just one of these ideas and realize greater impact from this year’s plan.
The big strategic thinking question is, “Which one will you pick?”
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