We Spend a lot of Time Planning and Strategizing for the New Year… So How Come Everyone is Not on the Same Page?

Publication 11, Issue 1

Let’s start off the New Year on the right foot! Many organizations do their strategic planning every fall so they are ready for the New Year. The executive team goes off-site to plan and think through the activities the organization wants to accomplish the following year. They reflect on the successes from the previous year, the things they could do better, how the market has changed and the things that have to happen the following year. Then they put together a great presentation, present it to the Board, have good conversations and start working the details of the plan – sharing little with the entire organization. After a few months, when things aren’t moving in the right direction or as fast as they should be – the exec team wonders why. It’s simple, we forgot to engage the organization, communicate the plan and help people prioritize their work!

Share these four tips with executives to guide them through the communication process of implementing their Strategic Plan:

  1. Think “communications” throughout your process – even before the Plan is finalized, take some time-outs along the way to figure out how to engage the support from the organization. Stop thinking about the “what’s” of the Plan and dive down into the “how’s.” Don’t get into the weeds, just try and work with one department to see if the Plan is on the right track.
  2. Get the buy-in along the way – even though the Strategic Plan may not be completely finished, ask the staff for feedback. This will help executives gauge whether or not they’ll be able to communicate the Plan effectively and provide the opportunity to make some mid-course adjustments.
  3. Deliver the Strategic Plan with strong conviction – make the communication event special. Don’t feel like you have to spend a lot of money, get executives involved in the communication strategy, show a unified front to the staff and explain how to weave the Plan into everything the organization does – customer service, performance management, day-to-day interactions with staff, etc.
  4. Establish a post-communications mechanism – hearing something once usually doesn’t stick with folks. The message has to be played over and over again before it starts to become real. Until the Plan becomes a part of everyone’s work life, include an update on the Plan at department/staff meetings and encourage people to ask questions.

Good luck!

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