One of the biggest challenges leaders face is getting people to take responsibility for their broader impact on the business.
However, a key way to address this is by being more effective in the way you communicate strategy to your team.
As a leader, an important part of your role is to influence the level of ownership that people have for the success of the overall organisation.
In this article, we’ll give you a simple framework to create a link between an individual team and the bigger picture, and a simple approach to communicating your message with impact.
Creating a link between an individual, a team and the bigger picture is about ownership. In order to influence ownership as a leader, you need three things in place: passion, clarity and focus.
Passion is about ensuring people feel inspired and challenged by something truly meaningful.
It’s also about ensuring they understand the broader context of the organisation. In short, it’s about helping them connect to why the organisation does everything that it does.
At this level you need to be talking about: the company purpose, vision, mission, and long-term strategy.
Clarity is about linking the role of the individual or team to the achievements of the whole organisation.
It requires you to clarify how the team or individual directly contributes to the bigger picture.
In order to create a better sense of clarity, you should link an individual person’s accountabilities to the medium-term strategy of the organisation.
At this level you’ll be talking about: strategic objectives, goals, major project initiatives and the company values, and how these all relate to their roles.
Focus is defining what the next most important step is for that individual or team, in order to deliver that contribution.
This should apply to the short-term or immediate horizon.
At this level you’ll be talking about: behaviours, actions and specific deliverables.
So, now you might be asking: how does this actually work in action?
Let’s look at an example of this being applied in a Customer Service capacity.
The CEO might say to the Customer Service Team:
“Our vision is to be the shopping destination of choice for working families in Australia, and a core strategy to support this vision is our lowest price guarantee.”
“Your role, as the customer service team, to support this strategy, is to deliver a fast and easy shopping experience that allows our customers to know where the bargains are. This demonstrates our company value of caring for the customer.
“The single most important thing you can do right now is ensuring every customer who walks into the store immediately spots the best bargains as part of the new campaign.”
As a leader, if you want to influence ownership in your team, it’s vital that you are passionate, clear and focussed on the message you want to deliver.
If you’re ever unsure about whether you have effectively communicated strategy, all you need to do is ask an individual or team member the following three questions:
- What’s the single most important thing you’re focussed on right now?
- How does that contribute to the overall organisation?
- Why is that so important?
The answers to these questions will indicate to you how effective you’ve been at communicating strategy.
Now you have the framework, it’s over to you to implement it! I wish you all the best in developing your effectiveness as a leader and improving the performance of your team.
If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments below.