Ignite Change

Aligning Your People To Your Strategy | Understanding Strategy | Team Strategy

Aligning your people to your strategy

Aligning your people to your strategy 1920 1280 Flint Change

Do your teams understand your strategy?

We often find that organisations are good at creating their strategy; senior teams can get together, articulate where they’re going and what difference taking a certain approach will make. They really ‘get it’ and they feel connected to it.

But equally, our experience shows the difficulty comes in translating that strategy into something meaningful and tangible that others within the organisation will understand and connect with. That is, taking everyone on the same journey, from awareness to understanding to implementation.

It’s not that other people don’t have the ability to “get it”, they perhaps don’t have the same enthusiasm – usually because the strategy isn’t clearly and concisely communicated. It may not even answer the most important question of all: ‘What’s in it for me?’

Strategy

Translating strategy at a task level is fundamental to its success. What does that mean for Nick in finance? What does he need to do differently to play his part? Executive teams can often miss the opportunity to translate their strategic plan into an implementation plan.

Excuse the cliché, but there’s a real need to have a thread that runs through a business that allows people to see where they’re going, understand the part they play and how this affects what they do on a daily and weekly basis.

The approach we recommend is a structured way of connecting your strategy all the way through your business to the objectives of individual team members.

If we take Nick from finance as our example again, he should know what he personally has to do at a task level to impact the finance team, his division and also the business. Our Ignite Change – Take Action Handbook guides clients this in a visual way, so that on a one-page document, Nick can see the thread that links what he does all the way through the business to the divisional objectives and finally up to organisational goals.

Communication

We’ve struggled to find evidence behind this fact, but there’s an old adage that you have to tell someone something 7 times before the can hear it. There’s a need to communicate your key messages, as many times as you can, in as many different ways as possible.

We use one-page visual ‘compelling strategic narratives’ accompanied by plans for every department and ultimately every individual. The same strategic messages need to continue to be reinforced. Taking a fresh approach to communicating these messages (as an email is not enough!) is really important, so for example we use roadshows, townhall meetings, workshops, playbooks, letters to home and even air fresheners with plan on!

There’s also a place for the usual intranets, Sharepoint, Slack and Teams to keep the messages ‘live’ on a daily or task basis.

Engage

Strategy can seem complex or remote from some employees. Simplify it and involve them. It will empower them to deliver it.

When Exec teams create strategies they look forwards. They don’t necessarily need to have the skills or knowledge to determine how that strategy should be implemented at a really granular level of detail. We have used this approach to spend time with people at all levels of the organisation to ask “how should we do this?”

In one of our case studies, in the health sector, we spent time with experts in one clinical area. They saw the strategy and understood the direction they needed to take. They were asked what they would do to achieve those goals in their area. They knew the frustrations that both they, and their patients had with the current approach and they offered an alternative approach. Their plan still met the organisational goal; still worked towards the same target, but took a far more pragmatic and patient focused route. The teams were clear that no extra cost to be added (in fact, ideally, cost would reduce), but the quality and access targets were still crucial. “Their way” showed that there was a better way and the results proved it! They had higher engagement from ‘at risk’ service users, and the teams were more engaged as a result.

It’s an inspirational part of the approach as people feel genuinely engaged. They have the opportunity to be part of a bigger plan. It makes it real for them and they also feel much more connected to delivering ideas which may have been theirs.

It’s simple!

Bringing Your Strategy To Life | Business Transformation | Business Strategy Development

Bringing your strategy to life!

Bringing your strategy to life! 1920 1280 Flint Change

So, you’ve spent plenty of time, money and energy coming up with a great strategy to transform your business – but how do you now get your teams to pick it up and bring it to life?

Do your teams understand your strategy?  Do they even know what it is…?

In our work, we often find that many organisations are good at creating fabulous strategies. Senior teams can get together, articulate where they’re going and what difference taking a certain direction will make. They really ‘get it’ and they feel connected to it.

But equally, our experience shows that difficulty can come in translating it into something meaningful and tangible that others within the organisation will understand and connect with – a strategic narrative.  If people don’t know what the strategy is, and don’t know their part in delivering it, how can it ever become a real, living way of life for your business?

The key is taking everyone on the same journey, from awareness to understanding to implementation. It’s not that other people don’t have the ability to “get it”, they perhaps don’t have the same enthusiasm – usually because the strategy isn’t clearly and concisely communicated.

It may not even answer the most important question of all: ‘What’s in it for me?’

Translating your strategy at task level is fundamental to its success. What does that mean for Debbie in Finance? What does she need to do differently to play her part? Why would this strategy make a difference to Nick in Customer Service, and what does he need to change?

Don’t miss the opportunity to translate your strategy into an implementation plan – one that all employees can understand and be enrolled in delivering. One that helps Debbie in Finance or, Nick in Customer Service, understand the critical part they play.

There’s a real strength in having a thread that runs through a business that allows people to see where they’re going, understand the part they play and how this affects what they do on a daily and weekly basis.

Our Ignite Change – Take Action Handbook is the answer.

It’s a structured way of connecting your strategy all the way through your business, right to the objectives of individual team members. Everyone can be empowered if they know what they each personally can do to make a difference. Our Take Action Handbook shows this in a visual way, so that from a one-page strategic narrative, everyone can see the thread that links what they do all the way through the business to the divisional objectives and finally up to organisational goals.

Knowledge is power, and empowerment creates change.

Empowering People Through Effective Engagement | Helping Staff Engagement | Empowering Change | Flint Change

Empowering people through effective engagement

Empowering people through effective engagement 1920 1280 Flint Change

One of the most powerful outputs that we have seen from our Keep it Alight – Next Level Change support is to really engage employees at a meaningful level. We have used it to great effect to empower people by getting them involved in how to implement a strategy.

One of the most important engagement enablers is ‘employee voice’. This is a great way of hearing what employees think in a structured way that directly impacts what they do – and how they do it.

When Exec teams create strategies, they look forwards. They don’t necessarily have the skills or knowledge to determine how that strategy should be implemented at a really granular level of detail. Often, it’s teams working with customers that have a really strong view on how a particular strategy should be best carried out – and it’s important to listen.

Clients have used our Keep it Alight support programme to effectively engage with people at all levels of the organisation, to ask “how should we do this?”

It’s an inspirational activity as people feel genuinely engaged and consulted. They have the opportunity to be part of a bigger plan. It makes it real for them and they also feel much more connected to delivering ideas which have come from the people doing the jobs.

How does it work?

With one of our clients, in the health sector, we spent time with experts in one clinical area. They saw the existing strategy and understood the direction they needed to take. However, it wasn’t fully meaningful to them in their roles.

They were asked what they would do to achieve the strategic goals in their area. They knew the frustrations that both they, and their patients, had with the current approach and they offered an alternative approach.

We used the principles from our Ignite Change – Take Action Handbook to help them develop their plan, ensuring that it still met the strategic goal. The strategy was transitioned into something that still worked towards the same target, but took a far more pragmatic and patient-focused route.

The teams were clear that no extra cost should be added (in fact, ideally, cost would reduce), but the quality and access targets were still crucial. “Their way” showed that there was a better way and the results proved it!

They had higher engagement from ‘at risk’ service users, and the teams were more engaged as a result.

This was a great example of how effectively engaging your people can drive empowerment and ownership to great effect.

When Teams Plan Together | Team Working | Team Improvement Help | Flint Change

When teams plan together, there’s a better chance that they plan for the same thing!

When teams plan together, there’s a better chance that they plan for the same thing! 1920 1280 Flint Change

Avoiding the existence of business silos, where separate operational plans exist in isolation, creating disconnection and even conflict between teams, is essential to creating a high performing business.

How can teams work in harmony if their plans and objectives aren’t all aligned to contribute to the same overall vision?

Business transformation initiatives need to be ‘owned’ and supported across teams, departments and functions – they need to matter to everyone for them to be truly effective and meaningful.

Too often we see detailed departmental plans that have no relationship to either the business vision and strategy, or any connection with the wider business.

Our Ignite Change – The Take Action Handbook brings teams’ plans together. It eliminates silos and creates cohesion. It’s a simple but effective structure to harness the potential that already exists within your organisation.

Get in touch if we can help you harness the potential of your team!