Aaron’s answers: Implementing strategy

The Question:

aaronhoos_socialmedia_linkedinWilame Lima asked: “Why is it so hard to follow a strategy? While some companies don’t have prepared professionals or sectors to effectively plan their activities, others do not have this kind of problem. However, even for those, strategic planning becomes ineffective, this because of internal culture, lack of acceptation of the directors or lack of preparation of managers and employees. In your opinion, how to surpass (or to minimize) the impact of the “human factor” in the implementation of the strategic planning of the company/sectors? Can a good plan to surpass a problematic organizational culture?”

Aaron’s Answer:

There have been some really good answers so far. I would echo a lot of the ideas, especially regarding the importance of focus.

In my experience, there a few ways to help implement strategy effectively:

* Get early stage buy-in from people. Don’t just tell them that the strategy has changed. This is the “top-down” approach and employees feel like it’s being rammed down their throats. They might also feel like their jobs are in jeopardy. Instead, tell them much earlier that you’re exploring changes to help them (i.e, help them do their jobs better or help them make more money, etc.). Implementing strategy is essentially a sales job: You need to sell it to your people in the same way you’d sell a product to a customer: Focus on the benefits to the employee first and then to the company second.

* Communicate often. Walk people through the process. Employees often resist change because there’s the unspoken threat that their jobs are in danger or the predictability of their work will vanish. Keep them informed. Offer lots of training. Get a champion in each department to spearhead the change. Keep the communication positive. I’ve seen lots of strategy changes that were implemented for negative reasons and it seemed like bosses were “turning the screws” on the employees.

* If the strategy is important to the company, tie incentives and pay structure to it. Obviously a strategy like “we’re going to use instant messaging instead of email for internal communications” isn’t what I’m talking about. Instead, I mean something like “We’re going to increase our insurance-industry business so any employee who can bring in an insurance lead will get a bonus, and if that company signs with us, our employee will get a larger bonus”, etc.
Good luck!

-Aaron Hoos
http://aaronhoos.com

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