The problem with launching a new business strategy
We’ve all been there… months of careful planning and a big fanfare of town hall meetings, presentations and updates in the company newsletter. The new business strategy is ready and it’s going to be critical to our company’s future. To make it happen, we need everyone onboard, fully understanding the significance of it and rebalancing priorities to make it happen.
However, when it comes to turning talk into action, this is where the problems start.
A well thought-out strategy is an important first step. But being able to deliver it is more important. This is an area many organisations struggle with. We are invariably asking people to change behaviour and that isn’t easy as many of us know.
There are six important reasons why business strategy implementation can fail to take off.
Six reasons why your new business strategy may not take off
1. No defined starting point: Often, no one has defined where to begin with the change and the sheer volume of change required expected is unrealistic. At the same time, nothing has been reprioritised or taken off the existing workload to make space for the new actions and behaviours that are needed to implement the new business strategy.
2. Lack of leadership: After the initial communication, there is a tendency for managers and leaders to retreat back to their offices and to fail to understand the importance of being visible role models for the change they are advocating.
3. Unclear accountability: If it’s not been made clear to everyone in the organisation how they contribute to the new business strategy and how they will be held accountable for outcomes, the default behaviour will be to carry on doing what they’ve always done.
4. Lack of communication: Without being able to fit the new business strategy into the overall big picture and see how everything connects together, employees and managers just see the change as a series of disjointed and unconnected activities. The failure of conventional briefing sessions to achieve organisational alignment often gives the illusion that communication has been “done”.
5. Lack of clarity over what is actually happening: Often the strategic language in the boardroom is not translated into day-to-day language employees can relate to. Jargon and acronyms infiltrate the communication process leading to employees being confused and unable to actually understand what is happening and why.
6. Lack of alignment: Organisational silos, misaligned priorities and cultural differences can often obstruct implementation of the business strategy. Furthermore, critical organisational processes are overlooked and not adapted to support new strategic requirements.
The big picture approach to business strategy communication
As we’ve seen, many of the challenges in launching a new business strategy revolve around communication and alignment.
To successfully implement a business strategy, leaders must be able to:
- Clearly explain and articulate the strategy.
- Create alignment across the organisation.
- Share the strategy with employees and engage them in it.
- Sustain the change through effective role modelling and personal commitment.
The process we used was to help them to convert their business strategy into a big picture communication tool (Learning Map) they could share across the business. This approach helped the company to implement the strategy by:
- Being leader-led and facilitated by managers and leaders.
- Being based around a central “big picture” image of the business and its operating environment so employees can see how strategic elements connect together.
- Defining a clear roadmap for the change with a beginning, middle and potential endings.
- A consistent approach that could be used across all sites.
- A clear emphasis on understanding and embedding priorities for the everyone in the business.
Although implementing a new business strategy is challenging, the barriers that exist can be greatly overcome by effective communication and engagement. The ultimate objective of any new business strategy should be competitive advantage and realising the benefits of it are more likely when everyone is on board.
Listen to a conversation between Craig Smith of The Big Picture People and Claire Bishop of Tommee Tippee talking about the whole Learning Map development process here.
Get in touch with us to find out how you can apply our big picture learning approach to your new business strategy.