For many organizations in 2020, the constantly shifting business environment has either forced a re-think of previous strategic decisions or provided breathing room to identify areas of opportunity and reconsider next steps moving forward. Organizations may have completed any number of the following:
- Gone to market to research shifts in client, customer, or donor needs
- Re-examined your competitive advantage to assess whether its still relevant
- Pivoted to take a new position in the market, offer new services, or target new audiences
- Identified opportunities for growth or expansion through mergers or acquisitions
- Brainstormed new business or fund development tactics
If you’ve taken the time for deep strategic thinking in your business, can you say with confidence that your team is along for the ride? Why does it matter if your team is in the loop on your plans or initiatives? Why should you care that the staff on your construction site or the junior developer at your tech company understands the decisions being made at the leadership level?
It is because they are your biggest brand ambassadors and need to be brought along for the ride. Here’s how to bring them along effectively:
Imagine you’ve recently refreshed your online presence and a prospective customer approaches your front desk and says, “I didn’t know your company changed its website.” If your receptionist has no idea that you’ve gone through that organizational change, the confused discussion to follow would leave both parties feeling a break in trust and disconnected. Instead, if you communicate properly across the organization, the receptionist has a new opportunity to educate that prospect on the changes, playing a part in creating a consistent experience for your stakeholders.
Communicate to and educate your team through strategy rollout sessions or town halls to walk through directional or positioning changes.
- Generate Buy-In
The more a team member can see the value they bring reflected in organizational decisions, the more likely they are to act as a strong company advocate. As with any change, it is key to build an understanding of how individual roles or departments are impacted, show empathy, and be accessible for questions. Consideration for these engagement techniques will increase the level of internal buy-in around your strategic decisions. Let each team member engage in their own way to find what that resonates with them and be open to questions or challenges in support of understanding the “why.”
Generate buy-in by sharing the decision-making processes, explaining how an initiative came to be, and facilitating departmental exercises for team members to identify how they can contribute to the new direction.
- Identify Champions
When team members understand the process you’ve gone through to make decisions, recognize how decisions tie to the organization’s purpose, and have clarity on direction, you are likely to unlock individuals who want to go the extra mile to help you see it through. Some will simply need to understand, while others will want to understand and do whatever they can to champion the organization moving forward. People who are intrinsically driven to provide additional support tend to bring creative ideas, follow through on accomplishing tasks, speak positively about the change to external stakeholders, and articulate how your competitive advantage can benefit clients.
Identify employees who have cultural clout to champion any internal change management processes and engage and equip brand advocates among your team who are well connected to influencers.
This might seem simple, but often employees are taken for granted when these key steps are not followed. They require forethought, and can be implemented to varying degrees, but they will be appreciated by your team and will help to move your organization forward quickly. Don’t miss out on harnessing the energy, skill, and connections of your team; this takes less resources than it does to educate your audiences through mass mediums like advertising or social media.