If you are like most senior executives, you aim to move the strategy you’ve developed into the ranks of your organization to stimulate change, create competitive advantage, and generate value for your customers.
In theory it is straightforward, in practice most senior executives share that moving their strategy into the organization for aligned implementation is one of their biggest struggles.
Strategy creation and strategic implementation are two different animals and require both head and heart to get it right. There is too much attention on strategic thinking and too little emphasis on strategic acting. Yet it’s the strategic acting the really leads to breakthrough results.
This is why it’s vital that your strategy is both rationally clear and emotionally compelling. Logic makes us think but it’s emotion that causes us to act. Strategies that talk about being number one or growing faster than the rest of the market are doomed to fail before you even start. Growing faster than the market is interesting (and financially attractive) to a handful of senior executives, however when you move down into the middle or lower levels of the organizations, these messages mean very little to the rank and file.
When your strategy talks about helping customers, creating value or helping people do something better or different than they did it before, you’ve got the foundation for an emotionally compelling strategy.
Senior executives that invite business functions, teams and individual leaders to build their personal stories into the company’s strategy create involvement and this breeds commitment to the overall strategy.
Encourage second, third and fourth levels of leadership to develop their own stories around the strategy. This requires leaders to understand the rational logic, make a personal connection and take a stand, with their story about their part in the overall plan.
Here are six tips to help you bring your story into the company’s strategy:
- Make it personal and passionate
- Know your three key messages, anchored in examples and facts where appropriate
- Master the basic questions that will arise
- Anticipate difficult questions
- Practice your story, a short, medium and full version, suitable for different settings
- Enjoy the experience and remember that you set an example for others.
The days of the single, senior leader spokesperson to “broadcast” the annual strategy at the beginning of the new year are long gone. Today, leaders throughout the organization share what the strategy means to them, how they intend to contribute, and connect with others for aligned and mutual strategic success.
How does your story connect with the company’s strategy? If you’re not sure, then start working on it today.
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