The article series was prompted by the ongoing quest business executives endure trying to improve their company’s performance by laying out a better business plan and strategy. Over the past five weeks, we have been exploring the critical components to good strategic planning.
In last week’s article, we left off on the sub-topics of change management and communication. Change management and communication sub-strategies are far too often underestimated in terms of their importance and impact to strategy implementation.
To effect change in the desired manner, one must understand some fundamentals of human behavior. This knowledge is imperative, at least at a high level, before delving into a large-scale change program.
Listed below are four important principles that are basic to understanding human nature (i.e., human behavior):
- Never accept at face value what people say they feel or believe. Instead, watch what they do; this will give a much more accurate understand of their real feelings and attitudes. Staff may suggest that they are willing to accept the changes proposed, then do everything in their power to stall it.
- The consequences of an action have an enormous impact of behaviors. The organization must reward the types of behaviors that it wants to promote and sanction that which it wants to discourage.
- Staff and managers alike are full of contradictions and paradoxes because that is the nature of social life.
- Frequently, the only way to understand another person or group is to empathize (affected only by one’s understanding of self).
Source: Brill, Peter and Worth, Richard. The Four Levers of Corporate Change. New York: 1997
In order for organization transformation to be successful, the executive management team must be able to look inside the minds of the staff and recognize what motivates them as individuals and as a team. They must also realize that staff are not only motivated by the rational, but the irrational as well. The leader of this transformation program will be able to know how to and will be effective at battling for key employees “hearts”.
Both clear and well-timed communication is required to translate plan goals into strategy statements that the organization can embrace and enact. Communication must target the right messages to the right people in the organization at the time that they need to receive the message. Timing and messaging constitute “effective” communication. Effectively spreading the enterprise vision throughout the ranks of the organization empowers and energizes employees to contribute to the successful execution of the strategic goals.
As with the other planning elements of business strategy, the communication of the business goals must be carefully orchestrated to achieve the intended results. A multi-disciplinary communication strategy that works with the corporate culture is the most effective. Multi-disciplinary means that we have to look at the organization as a whole and take into consideration the way communication is occurring within the current state.
Monitor & Control
Monitoring and controlling fall under the general classification of governance. Strategic Plan governance, whether implemented as a formal Plan Management Office or administered through a less formalized committee structure, should be responsible for the functions of selecting, managing and measuring of everything entering or within the plan portfolio. Governance provides a method to view strategic plan-related initiatives to be grouped into related programs for synergistic reporting and management activities. The plan portfolio is the overall macroscopic view of all programs and initiatives involved with strategy implementation.
A complete strategic plan model assesses each dimension covered in the preceding material and contains plans for risk management, transformation, change and communication and monitoring and controlling as described. Such a model positions the organization with a strategy for gaining or maintaining competitive advantage.
Join again next week to continue the discussion.