How to effectively communicate your strategic plan
Effectively communicating your strategic plan to everybody involved in the organization, is as important as creating it. The plan outlines the direction and long-term objectives of the business, and for the business to function in accordance with its strategy, every person must be aware of it.
Clearly articulating your strategic plan is essential to the growth of the business. Internal and external stakeholders must be familiar with the long-term strategic goals of the business so that they may make the right decisions leading the business towards its objectives. If your stakeholders don’t understand your direction, what’s the point of having one?
The first step in the strategic plan process is developing your strategy.
It is created by the executive management based upon the business’s competitive advantage and goals. After you have refined, perfected, and finalized the corporate strategy, you need to communicate it.
Be ready to roll out the strategy to everybody who is affected by it. That includes both your internal and external stakeholders.
Make a list of your internal audience, people who work inside the organization. That includes your board, directors, managers and staff members. The external audience includes people outside your organization that care and need to know about the organization. They are an external perspective of the business and include community members, donors, local authorities, and so forth.
You do not need to relay the entire strategy to each member of your audience. What each person needs to know about the strategy is very different from the others. It all depends on their level of involvement with the organization and what kind of activities affect them. The information you deliver should be relevant to their area of interest.
You need to think and plan which piece in your strategic plan is relevant to each person in your audience. The best method is to use a communications matrix to guide your thought process as you’re ready to roll out the launch of your long-term plan.
Firstly start by listing all the audience members; both internal and external. Arrange the list in the first column of the matrix with each row representing a different group member of the audience. Secondly break up the strategic plan by various pieces of information. Arrange them as the first row of the matrix, with each piece representing a separate column.
Now that you have the matrix in front of you think about which piece of information is relevant to each board member and note it down accordingly.
For example, a strategy can be broken down into its mission and vision, strategic objectives, goals, individual actions and Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s). The board and director should be notified of information that is relevant to big picture planning; which is why they will only be informed of the mission and vision, strategic objectives and the KPI’s. A staff member who is only concerned with their role in the organization will be informed of the individual actions, goals, and the mission and vision.
Once you have decided on whom to communicate your plan, you will need to plan the style and timing of delivery. Think about the best medium appropriate for your audience. Will a presentation, email, flyer or a note on the notice board be effective? Consider the options, and choose one which will make it easier for them to fully understand. The delivery method is equally important. Directors would like to be briefed in a meeting so that they can discuss the objectives together. Community members can be told through press releases to the public. Staff members are better informed through their supervisors or directly from the directors.
The strategy and business goals undergo changes now and then. Accordingly, you must decide how often to communicate the plan to each group of stakeholders. External stakeholders can be informed two to three times a year as the information does not considerably affect them. However, directors and supervising managers need to be told every few weeks. Most importantly, keep every person in sync with progress against your plan.
Moreover, lastly, just have fun with it and be enthusiastic about it. Keep the style of delivery interesting with graphics and color. Talks of plans and strategy can be boring, and you can easily lose the attention of your audience. You don’t want to do that because as we said before if they don’t understand the strategy, what’s the point of having one?