We’re not talking here about pleases and thank yous or giving up your seat on the bus. This is about the behavioural changes necessary to achieve your organisation’s ambitions. Do your employees understand how they are expected to change their patterns of work? Can they even see the connection between your long-term vision and your new strategies?
Strategies, plans and behavioural change
A strategy is like a puzzle – a collection of different pieces that have to fit together to reveal the big picture. If everything in business remained static, the puzzle would come together perfectly every time. Unfortunately, things change – often far too quickly – so the solution is never the same twice. The challenge for anyone setting new strategies – for a single department or an entire organisation – is to help the staff on the ground relate to the strategy and understand what they need to do differently to implement it.
Sound familiar? The success of any strategy depends on everyone doing their bit. Yet many organisations struggle to join the dots between their vision, strategy and day-to-day working practices. What you need are clear, inspiring, effective communications to bridge these gaps and bring about behavioural change. Joining the dots helps employees see how their contribution makes a real difference. It is then easier for them to make the right decisions and alter their behaviours, thus contributing to the success of your strategy.
Don’t keep your employees guessing
This is more than an internal communications exercise. When employees don’t understand what they must do differently, or why, they are unlikely to change their behaviours. So don’t keep them guessing! Don’t just hope that they’ll work it out for themselves. Tell them clearly and succinctly the organisation’s vision for the future, why existing behaviours need to change and what is expected of them. Start with a standardised strategy framework that explains the core aims of the strategy. This will provide consistent messaging across the organisation. Make it visual with an accompanying story about your future vision to help employees understand the strategy and connect it to their own tasks and behaviours.
3 steps to inspire behavioural change
So, do you think your employees have a clear understanding of your organisation’s current plans and strategies? Can they see a solid connection between strategies and behaviours? Do they understand the behavioural changes they need to make to achieve the set goals? If the answer to any of these is no, what can you do to help them understand – and want to be part of the solution?
- Put yourself in your employees’ shoes. Keep a record that is relevant to employees of how you developed your strategy. Include anecdotes, challenges you struggled with, how you came to conclusions. This background can help your teams understand and put your organisational priorities into context. By putting yourself in their shoes, you have something they will listen to – and follow.
- Create a learning narrative. Remember, your employees haven’t been involved in your strategic thought processes so you need to bring them up to speed. Build a truly compelling story that gives a fundamental understanding of the strategy. Structure your information into Broad (external challenges, organisational goals) and Narrow (what this means for day-to-day work and behaviours). People will then be able to draw personal connections to their work and the changes you want to see.
- Make it visual. People understand pictures much more easily than words. So, create a standardised, visual storyboard to communicate your narrative across the organisation. Use snappy headlines, graphics, simple diagrams, images, icons and colours, tied in with your brand identity. Above all, make it fun, attention-grabbing and easy to understand.
Communicating your Big Picture
The Big Picture People specialise in highly engaging visual communication tools. Our bespoke, interactive board games use gamification techniques to inspire, engage, and facilitate learning. Interactive games encourage participation at all levels, scenario-based thinking and problem solving. Using large, visually-rich images, they capture specific business issues and core messages in a focused, stimulating and challenging way. Find out how we supported a major performance turnaround at a leading retail chain.
To find out how games could be the solution to your strategy puzzle, book a free, no obligation 30-minute consultation.