How to Communicate your Strategic Plan to teams effectively?

April 17, 2024
Communicating Strategic Planning

If you own a business, a strategic planning consultant or business strategist will craft plans and strategies that promise to propel your business toward sustained success. However, these perfect plans, on paper, simply remain documents—they alone cannot drive your business forward. The true power of strategic planning processes lies in effective communication within your business environment. 

As a strategy manager or executive leader within your organisation, you have likely encountered situations where employees question decisions like shifting focus from one project to another or allocating more resources to specific projects. The answers to these queries lie within your strategic plan. Yet, without proper communication, employees may struggle to grasp the real purpose behind your strategic initiatives.

Indeed, communication is the key to business success. Let's move on and understand how you can effectively communicate your strategies with your employees and explore how you can ensure that your workforce comprehends and embraces your strategic vision.

Communicating Strategic Plans - What does it mean exactly?

A strategic plan serves as the blueprint for driving business growth. A strategic plan outlines the direction and actions needed to achieve long-term business goals. It's a dynamic document that guides decision-making and resource allocation, ensuring organisational alignment between objectives and activities. 

Unlocking the full potential of your strategic plan relies on effective communication with your team. So as to achieve this, a strategic communication plan is essential. A well-made strategic communication plan outlines what information needs to be communicated, to whom, and when, ensuring alignment with current strategic goals. 

A strategic communication plan is a structured approach to conveying key messages and information about the organisation's strategic goals and initiatives. It encompasses various aspects such as internal communication strategy, communication plan development, and strategic messaging. Key areas to focus on during strategic plan communication sessions include:

  • Clarifying the organisation's vision and objectives to align operational actions towards achieving a common strategic goal.

  • Outlining strategic initiatives and their importance in gaining insights into strategic priorities, actions to be taken, what needs to be achieved within which time frame and intended outcomes.

  • Soliciting feedback and input from employees to ensure two-way interactive and engaging discussions.

  • Providing updates on current progress and achievements to give clarity on where you currently stand in the process of achieving your strategic goals.

Thus, effective strategic communication sessions can ensure that their strategic objectives are effectively communicated and understood across all levels of the employees or workforce, fostering alignment and engagement in achieving shared goals.

Choosing the right channels for Strategic Plan Communication

When selecting communication channels, it's crucial to consider your team's diverse learning styles and preferences. Some of your team members will be visual learners, some will depend on detailed emails or drafts, and some might be active listeners and contributors in your daily meetings or discussions. Additionally, for remote or virtual teams, digital tools such as video conferencing, collaboration platforms, and online documentation can effectively communicate your strategies and ensure remote team members feel connected and engaged.

Utilising tools like a Huddle board provides clear visibility of strategic priorities, facilitating discussions to propel your strategies forward effectively. Also, a Hoshin Kanri X Matrix helps your team visually connect your strategic goals and objectives, along with who is responsible for tasks associated with its achievement.

How do you effectively Communicate a Strategic Plan?

Embarking on the journey of effective strategy communication with your team involves a series of simple steps. Each step ensures clarity and alignment, guiding your team towards shared success. Let's understand these strategic communication steps and uncover their significance in driving your business forward.

  1. Engaging Your Team: Have you heard about employee buy-in? It's crucial to align your strategic shop floor activities with your ultimate strategic goals. When you involve your team in the strategic planning process, soliciting their input and ideas to foster a sense of ownership and commitment. 

  1. Motivating Actions with Clear Direction: Cultivate an inspiring vision that resonates with your team and motivates them to action. Use strategic tools such as visioning workshops or SWOT analysis to develop actionable operations that capture the essence of your organisation's purpose and direction.

  1. Structuring your Strategy for a clear understanding: Employ a clear structure to communicate your strategy effectively. Utilise strategic frameworks like the Strategy Map or McKinsey 7-S Model to organise and articulate your strategic objectives and initiatives coherently and understandably.

  1. Launching with Impact: Ensure a successful launch by directing strategic communication plans across various channels and mediums. Use tools such as communication calendars and engagement assessment matrices to coordinate the timing and delivery of key messages to employees in different departments.

  1. Explaining the 'Why' Behind Strategic Choices: Provide context to help employees understand the rationale behind strategic decisions and initiatives. Use storytelling techniques or case studies to illustrate examples of the strategic context and demonstrate the strategy's relevance to individual roles and responsibilities. 

  1. Facilitating Information Access to all: Grant everyone access to strategic information and resources. Implement tools such as intranet portals, shared drives to ensure that all employees can access relevant documents, reports, and updates related to the strategic plan.

  1. Connecting Individual Actions to the Big Picture: Clearly articulate how each individual contributes to achieving strategic objectives. Use performance dashboards like the Balanced scorecard to illustrate the link between employees' daily activities and the organisation's broader strategic goals.

  1. Sustaining Engagement throughout: Maintain regular and consistent communication throughout the implementation process. Use a combination of meetings, newsletters, and team huddles to keep employees informed and engaged with the strategic agenda.

  1. Track and measure your progress: Analyse the progress of your operations using strategic tools like the Balanced Scorecard. This strategic framework provides a comprehensive and balanced view of organisational performance, allowing stakeholders to track progress against strategic objectives and initiatives in real-time.

  1. Cultivating a Continuous Improvement Culture: Encourage feedback and discussion to foster a culture of continuous improvement. Implement channels such as suggestion boxes, feedback surveys, or regular feedback sessions to solicit input from employees and stakeholders on the effectiveness of the strategy and its execution.

  1. Equipping leaders to Cascade Strategy effectively: Train your managers to integrate strategic communication into their everyday leadership practices. Provide them with the necessary tools and resources to cascade strategic messages effectively, coach employees on their roles in executing the strategy, and address any concerns or questions that may arise.

  1. Nurture your doubters: Embrace and nurture your doubters as valuable contributors to the strategic dialogue. Use strategic tools or techniques like scenario planning or devil's advocacy sessions to engage sceptics in constructive discussions and utilise their insights to strengthen the strategic plan.

Why should you have a Crisis Communication plan along with your Strategic Communication Plan?

If your strategic communication went wrong or when your team couldn’t achieve strategic goals as per plans it takes your  organisation in a different direction and puts you in some crisis. Now, you should find a way out of this situation where your business survives, finding new opportunities. 

A crisis communication plan can help your business to respond immediately in a crisis situation and prevent future occurrences of such familiar situations. These emergency plans need to be communicated with your team to help them navigate easily through this unexpected scenario. At the same time, it allows you to stay true to your strategic goals and mission. 

Benefits of effective Strategic Communication

  • Enhanced organisational  Alignment: Ensures everyone is on the same page, working towards common goals.

  • Increased Employee Engagement: Boosts motivation and commitment among team members.

  • Improved Employee Morale: Fosters a sense of belonging and purpose within the team.

  • Greater Team Efficiency: Streamlines processes and reduces misunderstandings.

  • Enhanced Innovation: Encourages idea sharing and collaboration.

  • Stronger Accountability: Clarifies roles and responsibilities, leading to greater accountability.

  • Higher Productivity: Aligns individual efforts with organisational objectives, resulting in increased productivity.

  • Better Decision-Making: Empowers employees with relevant information, enabling better decision-making at all levels.

  • Increased Adaptability: Facilitates agility and responsiveness to changing market conditions.

  • Enhanced Organisational culture: Promotes transparency, trust, and open communication, contributing to a positive organisational culture.

Best practices for enhancing your Strategic Communication

  • Establish Clear Objectives: Define specific communication goals aligned with your strategic plan to ensure everyone understands the desired outcomes and expectations.

  • Know Your Team's preferences and needs: Understanding your employees' diverse backgrounds and perspectives will help you tailor your communication strategies effectively, ensuring maximum engagement and comprehension.

  • Utilise Multiple Communication Channels: Disseminate information using various mediums, such as meetings, emails, and presentations, to ensure accessibility and effective communication with all team members.

  • Simplify Complex Concepts: Break down complex strategic concepts into simple and relatable terms, making it easier for employees to grasp the key ideas and understand their role in achieving organisational goals.

  • Encourage Two-Way Communication: An open conversation and feedback environment allows employees to ask questions, share ideas, and provide input on the strategic plan. This will foster a sense of ownership and commitment.

An example of effective Strategic Plan Communication

Let's examine an example of effective strategic plan communication in a manufacturing plant. The strategic team decided to implement a new production method to improve efficiency and reduce waste. In other words, the management team developed a strategic plan to introduce lean manufacturing principles across the manufacturing plant.

Firstly, clear objectives are established, outlining the goals of the new process, such as reducing production lead times and minimising defects.

These objectives are communicated to all employees through various channels, including team meetings, emails, and visual presentations.

Knowing that employees in a manufacturing setting may have different learning styles, the communication strategy includes:

  • Detailed written instructions for those who prefer written information

  • Visual diagrams for visual learners

  • Hands-on training sessions for those who learn best through practical experience.

During the implementation phase, the team uses regular updates and progress indicators on the balanced scorecard to keep them informed and engaged. This can also support feedback mechanisms where employees can share their experiences, suggestions, and concerns regarding the new process.

Furthermore, digital tools such as virtual meetings and online training modules are utilised for remote or virtual teams to ensure remote employees receive the same level of communication and support as those on-site.

Effective strategic plan communication results in employees understanding the real causes behind the new changes or processes, getting involved in those operational processes, and being motivated to actively participate in making the new production process successful. It leads to smoother implementation, increased productivity, and improved outcomes for the manufacturing plant.

As we conclude, you may understand that effectively communicating your strategic decisions to your workforce serves as a guiding light, aligning their day-to-day activities with your overarching strategic goals. This alignment, in turn, works wonders for your business performance, bridging the gap between strategy and operations. 

By implementing a balanced scorecard approach, you can precisely measure the progress of your strategic initiatives across Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). The balanced scorecard framework allows you to track the effectiveness of your strategic plan implementation in real-time, identify improvement areas, and make data-driven decisions to optimise business performance. Moreover, scorecards foster transparency and accountability within your organisation, ensuring that every employee understands their role in achieving strategic objectives and can actively contribute to the success of the business. 

Always remember that your employees are the engine of your business, and your strategic plan is the fuel. They must work together for optimal performance; effective communication can make this happen! So, communicate your strategies with your team effectively to ensure sustained business growth.

Plan your Strategic Communication with Datapoint Balanced Scorecard