Communicating strategic intent | S4 E15

First published: 18 July, 2023

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Engaging Internal Comms Series 4
Communicating strategic intent | S4 E15

Communicating strategic intent

Picture this: you’re working in a massive organisation with employees scattered across the globe. There’s a lack of connection between frontline employees and senior management, and it’s clear that a coherent message from the top is desperately needed. Enter our guest speaker, Jim Gitney, a strategy expert who knows a thing or two about aligning organisational goals. Jim shares his philosophy of building a hierarchy of needs within organisations, starting from goals and mission all the way to implementation. He emphasises the importance of aligning every element of the organisation towards one most important goal. Makes sense, right?

But how do you ensure that this goal is effectively communicated throughout the entire organisation? Well, Jim suggests breaking down the strategy into simple components: the most important goal, where to play, and how to win. By doing so, leaders can make it easier for everyone to grasp and get on board. In fact, Jim shares a brilliant approach where organisations define their most important goal and immediately communicate it to everyone. This not only engages the employees who are already in the loop, but also addresses the majority who may be unaware. It provides focus and clarity, tapping into the creative and talented resources within the workforce.

But it doesn’t stop there, Jim stresses the importance of involving middle-level leaders in the strategic planning process. By including them, they gain a better understanding of the strategy and can effectively communicate it to other levels of the organisation. It’s about enhancing implementation, not changing the process. Jim also introduces the concept of the Business Hierarchy of Needs, inspired by Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Just as individuals have personal and professional needs, businesses have their own set. By aligning business strategies with the most important goal, organisations can avoid conflicting strategies and ensure smoother implementation.

Leadership plays a crucial role in all of this. Clarity of intent and empowering employees are key factors in driving engagement and ownership. Jim shares his experience with kaizen events, where employees are given permission to make recommendations and change processes. Involving employees in decision-making leads to increased engagement and accountability.

Guest profile

Jim Gitney is the founder and CEO of Group50 Consulting, and a member of the board of advisers for Thinaër. Jim is a strategy, operations and supply chain subject matter expert. He has been an Executive Chairman, Board Member, CEO, COO and had other assignments in business development, marketing, sales and operations. He has hands on experience working in over a dozen different industries and functional organisations.

Useful links

Link to a relevant episode of the podcast: https://thebigpicturepeople.co.uk/blog/podcast/context-and-connection-why-they-matter-s4-e14/

Jim’s LinkedIn profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jgitney/

Business hierarchy of needs: https://strategyrealized.com/

Jim’s website: https://www.group50.com

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