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Achieving Engagement in a World of Digital Communications

Posted January 31, 2012 9:17 AM by Dylan Miyake

So your leadership team recently drafted a new strategic plan. It's about 80% complete and now it's time to test it outside the board room for accuracy. Then it will be time to gain buy-in and engagement across the organization.

What should you be thinking about as this process gets underway?

First, there needs to be a concise statement explaining the environment that you are working in. Then explain why there is a need for change.

With this understanding, the draft strategic plan can then be introduced to a small but representative sample of the organization (across both across sectors and ranks). This critique should check for glaring omissions, errors, or potentially confusing language. It typically helps to have a supporting document that further explains the mission, each supporting objective, and major linkages between them. With revisions and approval from the pilot, it's time to build wider knowledge of -and excitement for- the new plan.

Effectively rolling out the new strategic plan will take a combination of communication and engagement activities.

Communications activities tend to be more informative distributions of knowledge. Engagement activities are two-way discussions about the purpose, method, and expected outcome from the strategy and should be much more personal and more ongoing.

A few ideas for both ways of building awareness and buy-in are included below.

Potential Communication Activities: •Using a Town Hall type meeting to introduce the new approach •Posting a short video summary of the strategic plan to YouTube or internal sharing site •Including highlights of the strategy in the company newsletter

Potential Engagement Activities: •Providing brown-bag lunches where interested employees or volunteers can learn more about the specifics of the plan •Encouraging personal conversations asking what the new strategy means to them •Print and post a big strategy map on the break room wall and have a stack of pencils and post-it notes so people can anonymously voice their suggestions for wording, direction, etc

Both communications and engagement activities are critical to a successful roll-out. Communication activities ensure everyone has a chance to learn about the new direction and the reason for it. Then engagement activities allow each person the chance to test it, shape it, and ultimately own it in their daily activities.

Best of luck with your rollout!

Filed Under Motivation