Marketing and selling your company strategy to your organisation, people, customers, business partners and shareholders is one of the most important tasks you will undertake as a business leader.
Having a great strategy in some PowerPoint deck is not going to help you deliver the business strategy succefully.
Marketing and selling the company strategy is a constant activity making sure that everyone understands.
How well do people understand their strategy?
Following on from my last blog with regards to that Harvard Business Review that identified that typically only 5% of a company’s organisation employees understand the company strategy, I want to look at some of the issues that may be causing this. When I first read that article I was surprised at such a low number, but the more I thought about it, it no longer became a surprise to me.
Well after completing numerous workshops with various organisations, one of the activities that I do is to get the workshop attendees to complete a SWOT analysis on their current strategy. Nothing amazing about that you might say, and I would agree. However, a consistent theme (weakness) is that a large number of people, more so at the “coalface,” don’t really know what the strategy is. They know what their current job role is and to a degree, how it fits in and who they need to work with, etc. But that is about as far as it goes. And it’s not their fault!
Is that enough? Well we know the answer to that and it is not long before you start hearing the following comments, when various people in the workshop group, start sharing and discussing the company strategy, that you get the comments “…oh I didn’t know that” or “…oh is that why we do x & y. That makes sense now.”
It’s as if someone has switched on the lights and they now see where they (the company) are going.
It often reminds me of Steven Coveys “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” – “Start with the end in mind” and the tree cutters cutting a path through the jungle until someone shouts from above – “Wrong way!”.
Communicating your strategy so people get an overview, an understanding of how you and your team, fits into the overall strategy as we all know, is not only a good idea, but also common sense. Why is it then, that one of the most important pieces of information (company strategy) is usually placed in some obscure place on the company Intranet or worse, sits on the Executive Managements file server for only the executives to see?
Marketing and selling the company strategy is key if it is to be executed with passion, belief and full commitment from the company employees. Nothing happens until the “sale” is made whereby the employees have been involved, they understand the value of the strategy and ultimately, how it will add value to them through increased salaries for example.
One of the best ways to market and sell your strategy, is getting people to actively participate in co-creation of the strategy, so that you gain more “marketers” and “sales people” who have not only helped to develop the strategy, but more importantly are passionate about sharing and communicating it, so that its execution delivers successful outcomes.
Marketing and selling your strategy has to be one of the most important aspects of any companies executive management team and is an activity that has to be consistently and regularly performed to:
- get new ideas
- gain feedback and new insights
- check for understanding
- verify strategy performance
- develop ways of improving the strategy
Getting that activity (marketing and selling your strategy) to work effectively, so that it becomes part of the day job, is not only for the executive team, but it is for the whole company to do. This means that there has to be a specific step and action, to ensure collaboration at all levels of the organisation becomes part of its DNA make up. This can be a challenge in itself – and its not simply sending out a few emails with a PowerPoint presentation!
Visual Collaboration – telepresence
As discussed earlier, one of the other common issues when completing the SWOT analysis is Communication. Its always there.
To help see how we can address this, one of the global trends that is growing year on year, which will support the communication, collaboration and therefore the marketing and selling of your strategy, (or any initiative/plan for that matter) is visual collaboration or telepresence.
This is not a “silver bullet” and has to be done as part of a company’s communication strategy. Telepresence is having audio video conferencing at everyone’s desktop/laptop/point of work. Technology has moved on so much, that enables businesses to deploy such tools in both a cost effective and productive manner.
The power of video communications is becoming more understood and to be able to deliver this easily without the need for IT specialists standing by ready to help, is now a reality.
My next blog will look at a particular technology solution delivered by Radvision. This type of technology solutions are starting to have a major impact on communications and collaboration in businesses and organisations, that can help to address the issues outlined in this article.
As always, we will continue to look at solutions and best practices so you can continue to Visualise and Accelerate your business.
Keep on collaborating