Golden thread strategy
Organisational strategy is often cooked up by a small group of leaders locked in a room over a series of weeks or months. During that time ideas are raised, discussed, developed and dismissed. Strategy is released to the masses once the best ideas have been polished and loose ends tied. Most people don’t understand the thought process behind the strategy, they only hear the end result.
This can lead to partial understanding which creates misalignment and sub-optimal performance. The further someone is from the strategy originators the greater the opportunity for misinterpretation – and these people are often the ones closest to your customers.
By engaging your people’s creativity and deep understanding of the organisation and its customers, we will help you develop an organisational strategy that really works – and just as importantly, employees who are inspired to deliver it.
To truly engage people in developing and delivering organisational strategy, they need to understand the purpose and strategic context. How is the organisation doing against its current KPIs? What are the organisational strengths you want to build on or grow? What’s happening in the wider sector? What’s the financial context? What’s the legislative context? It’s usually more inspiring for people to get behind a “burning opportunity” than a “burning platform” – but it’s most important that information and analysis is balanced and consistent.
Share context in plain English, with clear “so what?” explanations to help people understand the implications
Often, the best ideas come from the people and teams doing the work, not leading the work. They are the people that interact most closely with customers, use core systems, and grapple with processes.
Create mechanisms for people to contribute and build on ideas – such as workshops, hackathons or idea sharing software. Prioritise ideas based on agreed criteria: for example, how much they contribute to the strategy, and how feasible they are. Provide feedback loops to recognise contributions, and let people know which ideas are being progressed.
Engagement needs to be meaningful so be honest about which parts of the strategy people can influence, and which parts are already decided
Road test your strategy with leaders and people managers. Does it answer the questions your people will be asking?
- Where are we going?
- What are our priority goals?
- What will it look, sound and feel like when we get there?
- How will it benefit me/us?
- How will it benefit our customers?
- Why is this the best strategy for us right now?
Developing the meaning of your strategy with leaders and people managers creates alignment and results in leaders owning the narrative and conveying common messages day to day.
Involve representatives from across and through your organisation in developing your compelling story. Include what matters to them
Becoming engaged in your organisation’s strategy is about knowing the part you and your team play in delivering it. Teams recognise their role and develop plans to deliver the strategy, creating a golden thread between them and the organisation’s ambition. Teams identify how their roles fit with others to deliver a consistently excellent customer experience.
Having everyone know the part they play improves performance and collaboration. It creates meaning and reduces uncertainty and ambiguity.