written by MO.com Subject Matter Resource Dana Williams
To help employees excel at executing your master plan, it is important to cultivate a “strategic mindset”—the shared belief that strategy is everyone’s job. We want each individual to think strategically about the future. In order to do so, however, we first need to address your work culture, which by definition is a customary set of shared values and accepted behaviors.
Business owners need to instill the right values for a strategic mindset. I often speak of the importance of regular communication. When your teams receive this, they are more likely to adopt the shared belief that strategy really is everyone’s job.
First, communicate why the company’s strategy is necessary. Employees need to understand the underlying foundation of where they are going. Communicating upcoming changes and the reason for them, such as increased competition or a new opportunity, is going to quiet uncertainty.
Next, explain how new initiatives are being carried out to support the corporate strategy. Will they cut costs, increase revenue, or enable your organization to enter a new market?
Third, Managers should outline what will happen if the group succeeds in implementing its plans. Offer them an incentive of some kind and it doesn’t always have to be monetary. This is where you can get creative.
Fourth, outline what will happen if the group fails to implement its plan. Don’t spend too much time with this, but set some boundaries-both high and low.
Finally, make clear what attitudes and behaviors are expected from each person on the team. Lead by example here and make certain to everyone that you expect ethical behaviors at all times.
Consider your culture
A groups’ culture influences what team members consider most important, how they resolve conflicts, and how they interact with each other. It also impacts their decisions about what they will and won’t adopt, which ultimately impacts the quality of their work.
Consider this: A commonly held ideal such as “customer orientation” can steer employees in many different circumstances to make the right decisions that supports the company strategy and the customer—without the need for micromanaging. If we instill a broad level understanding of what our culture is, it will allow employees to make their own decisions. This makes for happier employees, which makes for happier customers. In addition, a major strategic initiative provides an opportunity for everybody to develop management skills and to be a visible success within the company.
So, all organizations have a culture—whether they’ve consciously cultivated it or not. And many companies embark on culture-change programs in tandem with strategic change. So whether or not your business has an established culture to guide it, it is up to you to instill the right values for a strategic mindset.
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