It pays to communicate your business strategy. Rather than a long-term goal in your head of what you envision the business to be, a detailed, written document can help you in communicating the strategy for better internal communication.
Done right, this strategy communicates your goals. It builds a culture of involvement, helping your teams buy into your vision and find ways to accomplish these goals.
To get to that point, you have to be strategic. A simple mission and vision statement won’t be enough. Instead, consider these 7 key features that any written business strategy should include.
We have to start big. Every business strategy should begin with a strategic vision that outlines exactly where you see the business going in the long-term.
Sharing your vision statement in this form can have a significant impact on engaging your employees. IKEA, for instance, shares its simple statement of “a better everyday life” with all new and existing staff. That ensures the vision flows into the culture and impacts the way employees bond and work together.
Even companies who already share their vision statement have to make sure that it’s not isolated. Instead, it should become a core part of your written business strategy, the introductory statement that drives all the specifics that come after it. That way, you ground the goals, timelines, etc. in a larger framework that’s easy for your staff to follow and buy into.
A long-term vision grounds the strategy. Within that framework, you can get specific. The best business strategies include a number of short-term goals designed to outline a path to get to that long-term vision.
These goals have to be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. That ensures they always remain realistic and don’t present potential obstacles. That becomes crucial in communicating strategy of any kind: you have to remain forward-facing, but without discouraging anyone from actually working towards them.
It’s tempting to get complex. But when explaining your strategy and any type of internal communication, do you really need to add a glossary any time the topic comes up? Clear, jargon-free language is absolutely crucial to making sure that everyone understands your strategy at first glance.
That first glance becomes especially important in your business strategy. Ideally, you want and need your teams to buy into your vision and goals. It’s much easier to do that if you can point towards very specific, simple, and straightforward language. That way, both new and existing employees can easily make connections to their own positions and job responsibilities.
Language matters in getting your staff to relate to the business strategy. So do examples that can make it real. Don’t be afraid to move away from theoretical language, and into the real, tangible nature of your everyday business practices.
That can take a variety of forms. Most commonly, it means showing what you mean through real examples. As you formulate your vision, draw on practices already happening in your business that you can build on. Provide explanations of how goals might be accomplished. These types of efforts communicate strategy in a much more relatable, effective way.
We’re moving outward in the concentric circles of your strategy. Everything that comes next is connected to the larger context, rather than the core vision and goals. That doesn’t make it any less important. Consider this step as the perfect example: outline exactly what people, teams, and department should be a component of which initiatives.
At its core, your business strategy should apply to the entire business. Still, various parts will be more effective when led by specific teams. In addition, there is likely a leadership strategy group setting and monitoring goals. Ideally, your strategy should identify each of these components clearly. That way, anyone looking it over knows exactly where to turn to with questions or follow-ups.
The best business strategies think beyond themselves. No organization exists in isolation, and that is true for any type of forward thinking as well. That’s why one section of your strategy should always consider the larger context of the competitive environment in which you find yourself.
This environment, in one shape or another, tends to flow down to individual marketing plans, sales outreach, etc. It’s important to ground those more specific analyses into a larger overall framework, and your business strategy is the perfect spot. Here, you can outline your main and indirect competition, your audience, as well as larger trends that already do or could affect your business in the future.
Finally, don’t make the mistake of building a business strategy without considering how you will communicate it. The best strategy means nothing if it’s locked up in a literal or figurative vault, never read, and never acted on. Communicating your plan is just as important as building that plan to begin with.
Ideally, the plan itself outlines some of the ways in which it should be communicated. Identify the major stakeholders that need to be informed at all times, and build training opportunities for all others into the system. That way, it’s easy to refer back to best practices and the goals of making sure all of your staff knows the strategy as well as you do.
This step includes finding the right communication channels. An intranet could and should be a top internal communication tool you use as a central source of truth to store your strategy documents. It can also serve as grounds for discussions, especially if you want to involve your on-the-ground staff in feedback and future direction.
Communicating your strategy is just as important as building it. IC Thrive takes a holistic approach to building intranet software. IC Drive is our internal communications program that helps you build your strategy, and IC Source is the tool custom built to support your business objectives. Contact us for information today, and maximize the opportunities that the right strategy can provide.