Do you get confused and disconnected when reviewing your overall business strategy?
If so, you’re not alone, as only 5% of employees say they understand their company’s strategy.
All too often, strategy is bulging with so many numbers, kpis, and revenue targets that people don’t understand the story behind the strategy, nor their role, or how their contributions make a difference.
When this happens, people disconnect, strategy becomes ad hoc, and important initiatives don’t deliver expected outcomes.
It’s dangerous to drown people with too many numbers in the strategic conversation. Here’s a good exercise to make this point clear.
Leaders pair up and sit in chairs, with the chairs back-to-back so they can hear each other but not see each other. Give one partner a page from telephone book (or another document flooded with numbers) and ask them to transfer (by talking) as much info to their partner, without their partner seeing the page. I give them two minutes and ask the partner what they can recall. It is not pleasant to watch people try to remember what they have heard from their partner (little or nothing actually). Then I give the other partner a post card and ask them to do a similar exercise, without the other partner seeing the post card.
The results of what people can recall from the post cards, compared to listening to a series of numbers is profound. People can describe pictures in detail; yet struggle with the numbers. The energy levels are remarkably high when people share their picture stories.
Visualizations and picture language are an important part of any strategic narrative. Make sure you have post card language in your strategy because it enables everyone carry the company’s strategic story forward successfully.
Creating powerful strategic conversations is part of the upcoming “Becoming a Strategic Leader” workshop in October. If you or members your team would like to create more meaningful strategic messages, go here.