When presenting the Evaluate to Win™ system, I always get a positive response from executives with the idea of aligning every employee’s efforts with corporate strategies and priorities. It’s called “embedding” your strategy. It makes perfect sense. It ensures that the contributions of your staff are optimized toward the success of the organization…that is, assuming you have wise strategies.
But in order to align your employees’ efforts, people at every level–managers and individual contributors–must first know what they are aligning to. So, how do you disseminate the corporate strategic priorities so that people understand them accurately and accept them?
The best people to communicate your strategy are your executives. They understand it most clearly, believe in it most passionately, comprehend the roadmap of where it will take the company, and can explain it most convincingly to the employee group. So, find ways for your senior leaders to get in front of staff to deliver the message. There are many such vehicles:
- live presentations at “all hands” meetings
- videos & webinars
- Q & A meetings
- breakfasts or lunches with the executives
- Written memos, staff newsletters, annual reports, etc.
- Bulletin boards
- Recognition ceremonies
- Internal social media
A much less reliable approach, however, is to pass the message down through your managers, level-by-level, to the front line, trusting that a clear accurate understanding of the strategy will be preserved. This evokes memories of childhood birthday parties where the kids pass a sentence around the table, mouth to ear to mouth to ear, and laugh hysterically when the last person blurts out what he heard. Your managers are smart, dedicated people but they are still humans and we humans tend to distort, amend, and embellish what we transmit to others.
What should be cascaded, however, is an alignment process at each level. What are the priorities of my department/unit? Do they support the strategic focus of the organization? What do they suggest the priority tasks of each of my direct reports should be?
If everyone has received clear, direct messaging from the C-suite, they can at each level match their team’s efforts with the intended corporate focus. All departments, all levels, and all performance will be aligned with where the enterprise intends to go.