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You can’t embrace a strategy if you weren’t part of the planning!

Senior leaders spend countless hours creating the strategic plan, often in isolation.

When they return with the plan, they begin seeking ‘buy-in’ from their team.

In other words, the strategy is forced upon employees, who are then tasked with implementing it — without understanding the back story (the conversation that went into its creation).

By including the implementers of strategy as part of the process, they can not only add perspective, but they are immersed in all aspects of the conversation.

When the unexpected arises in the execution of the plan — and it always does — implementers can pivot quickly and powerfully because they get it!

Involving your employees in the strategic planning process really means you are protecting your business’s success. For their response to be smart, they need more than marching orders!

Here are a couple of must do’s!

View your people as people. Your staff is more than expenditures, resources, or sets of competencies. Effective motivation comes from providing meaning and value that is personal.

Let passion drive strategy. Employees must be included throughout the strategy development process.

Request input from frontline employees, and do a deep dive into how their customer interactions and commitment to quality can become benchmarks of training.

Get employees behind their leaders. Ensuring employees are enthusiastic about improving the company is essential. Doing this requires transparency, trust, and mutual respect.

Most often, senior teams retreat to offsite resorts to develop strategy, only to return and force it upon the rest of the company. Employees will never buy into this. Give employees the opportunity to find something they can fall in love with and own by engaging them in the process.

Talk with your team. Share and discuss the industry, competitive environment, vendor relationships, and dynamic customer characteristics that drive your business. Be honest about company performance, challenges, and wins.

It can be scary for senior teams to consider including ‘the whole company’ in their strategy development process. No question it takes courage.

By making people part of the strategy, the business will thrive and the employees will have all the answers to the question of ‘So What?’

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