Strategy and Communication – The Art of Alignment
When you stand at the top of your organization or team, you have a perspective that no one else has. And yet you depend on subordinate’s input to inform the overall strategy and mission. And for the input to have value, everyone has to understand and focus on the strategy. I witness many a senior leader who comes up with the great strategy, but fails to help the organization really grasp it; it’s not a strategy, then, it’s just a brainstorm. If you’re not communicating the strategy, you don’t have a strategy.
Creating an effective strategy requires a Strategic Planning process; a process defined with time and agenda. But then you want to do things strategically on a day to day basis. Then you communicate it daily. Advertisers know that a message has to be seen/heard at least seven times before it even registers, let alone changes minds and actions. You cannot over communicate. Even if it feels like you are over communicating; it feels like you’ve said it 50 times before lunch. Your strategy and message is so obvious to you that it sounds boring and nagging, because you’ve said it so many times already. And in your mind, you’re already there, and you’re ready to go to the next step; there’s something greater, more interesting, more opportune coming down the pike. Your leadership responsibility is to both project into the future AND stay in real time contact with your people. A paradox. You need to look ahead, and you also need to be in real time. If you’re not in real time, I just don’t know how you will communicate.
To effectively communicate your message and keep your team focused on your strategy and mission, think of yourself as a public speaker and Know Your Audience. If you are not connecting with your people – your audience – then who is? Know your audience and juggle the paradox. Look up for the vision, and in for the action. If you spend more of your time looking up instead of looking in, your organization may just implode. You must balance looking up and out – being the champion, the ambassador to the outer world – with looking down and in – watching for community, culture, and production.