Employees Won’t Support Your Strategy Unless They Understand It. That’s Why You Need to Do This
Take this simple, compelling approach to communication
You’ve worked hard to develop a strategy that helps your organization achieve its ambitious goals. But even the most brilliant strategy won’t be successful unless everyone–from a senior leader to an entry-level employee–understands how to support your organization’s plan.
That’s why you need to articulate the strategy in a way that’s simple, compelling and memorable. In fact, you need a “rallying cry,” which Collins Dictionary defines as “a word or phrase, an event, or a belief which encourages people to unite and to act in support of a particular group or idea.”
Without a rallying cry, the most carefully developed strategy dissipates “the further it gets from the boardroom,” write Sanjay Khosla and Mohanbir Sawhney, authors of Fewer, Bigger, Bolder. But a rallying cry bridges strategy and action. “It’s the energizer that makes the strategy more concrete, more tangible and more actionable,” write Khosla and Sawhney.
How do you create an effective rallying cry? The authors offer these 7 tips:
- Set objectives. A rallying cry can achieve five “sometimes overlapping purposes–to explain, enumerate, emote, evoke and elevate.”
- Explore the possibilities. A rallying cry “can come in various guises–a phrase, an acronym, a symbol, an image . . . even a color.”
- Act quickly. “Finding the right message and spreading it to the troops requires care and insight, but it shouldn’t take many months. Speed is a virtue.”
- Simplify. The message needs to be something basic and powerful that conveys meaning throughout the organization. “There is no such thing as a rallying cry that is too simple!”
- Be relevant. “The rallying cry has to be connected with what people need to do. It needs to connect the boardroom with the people on the front lines, so that everyone understands his or her role in driving the growth strategy forward.”
- Make a splash. Launch the rallying cry with a memorable event meant to inspire employees.
- Stay the course. “The rallying cry should not be changed every time leadership wants to shake up the organization. Too many companies keep piling on strategies. This only leads to confusion and distraction. It takes time for employees to absorb the strategy and for it to work its magic.”
The effort is worthwhile, say Khosla and Sawhney, because “a powerful rallying cry works to bring employees, top to bottom, in line with the strategic direction of the business.”