Monday, July 14, 2014

Intensive employee communication driving strategy aligment

"You can have brilliant ideas, but if you can't get them across, your ideas won't get you anywhere."
Lee Iacocca

An intensive dialogue about the company's intention, strategy and objectives with all employees is a key driver for strategy alignment and for getting every one's "buy-in". However, it is not only the corporate communications department which is in charge of sending strategic messages throughout the organisation via its various channels. Also top management needs to disseminate strategic messages down the line, with managers from all levels informing their employees and discussing their contribution to the company's performance. In doing so, the employees’ knowledge and understanding of the strategy increases and their actions will be more in line with the strategy.

Hearing is not understanding

This sounds easy. But in many organisations there seems to be a problem with communicating strategic messages in a way that it is properly understood by all employees. The fact that employees are regularly informed and hear the message does not necessarily mean that they "got it". Strategic messages might not be properly received because rationale and context are missed. A lot of articles and essays have been written on this subject as well as on what should be done from a corporate communication point of view.

Dialogue-oriented communication

Communicating about the company's strategy is about employees understanding what the strategic objectives of the organisation are, and where there contribution can be to help the organisation in achieving these objectives. This requires an intensive debate bottom and bottom-up. It is all managers' responsibility to ensure in a meaningful and dialogue-oriented way that all employees have a common understanding about what the strategy is and why the company is following it. And it is their duty to align the operational activities with the strategic objectives. Such behavior should finally result in a strong strategic alignment where all employees are pulling together - motivated and engaged.

Therefore you should not only look at internal communications as the ultimate and only tool to create alignment. The necessary impact on your staff can only be reached if you enable the managers to lead the strategy discussion by providing them the adequate material such as presentations, articles, Q&A catalogues. That is what gives a company its road map towards alignment and top performance.

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