Do Your Employees “Own” the Corporate Strategy?”

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The goal of most presentations is to influence an audience to take the actions recommended. For instance, the sales presentation for investors, employees, Board of Directors, and other “buyers” take place to encourage them to buy-into your services, products and/or ideas. When the buyer makes the final decision, which was more often the case decades ago, that often was sufficient.  

However, today and increasingly in the future, the final decision/act requires a commitment by other team members, employees throughout the company, etc. that means the presentation has to meet a second standard: enable the person to whom the presentation was focused to be able to communicate it well enough to”resell” it to the rest of the team. This means being able to deliver their own ADAP presentation  (audience-driven, authentic presentation) to others by communicating the purpose and details accurately and enthusiastically, especially since she/he is more familiar with what issues will and won’t resonate with the others.

Getting the rest of the team to “own” the strategy that you’re communicating is no easy matter. As Tom Ehrenfeld notes in “how to help your employees own your strategy”, the traditional way of getting buy-in in a company was by passing on the information through cascading: talk to the top leaders of the team and have them then pass it down the “chain of command”.  As the old game of telephone reminds us, as information is passed from one person to another it often “changes” based on the people passing on the information. Not all details will be communicated perfectly, and the importance of making sure it’s resonating with the next person is often lost. 

As the world changes, and companies have to adapt new strategies to not just survive but thrive in the future, it’s critical that all team members are buying-into the strategy with the same commitment that the original presenter wanted her/his audience to have – and not something washed out due to changes in content and delivery persuasiveness.

He recommends adopting a “chartering” approach to generate the clarity and commitment that is needed to get everyone on-board.  Teams need a specific personalized license to act. Without clarity on what they are responsible for, which decision rights they own, what inputs they can count on, and who is depending on them to deliver ( the information), they cannot move confidently into action.” Why? Because getting the rest of the team to “own” the strategy requires mutual information-sharing, negotiation and problem solving with the next recipient of the information!

In other words, the key to getting the rest of the team of employees, investors and other buyers is effective presentation execution. The initial buyer has to be able to:

  • handle two-way communication with her/his audience so they can share information completely
  • confirm the recipient’s ability to communicate it well by double-checking their expertise with handling the information and delivery prior
  • know that the person now fully owns the responsibility to help the other team members get the information and take on the ownership of further sharing it.

In sum, getting the entire team to own the strategy requires that this is a living-process, not a one-time, one-way. And one of the best ways to make sure that the entire team will “own” the strategy is to make sure at the beginning all members “own” the importance of communicating messages in ways that are compelling and persuasive to others.

In your organization, are you involving other team members in making sure everyone is committed to the new strategy?  If not, consider empowering them using such a “chartering” approach. Doing so may well be the key to long-term success.