Strategic planning can be a complex process. It can take some time for your executive leadership team to review the company’s objectives, and then state what is needed to achieve those objectives. While this process and your strategy may take a little time, the way you communicate your strategic plan to your employees doesn’t have to be time consuming.
In this post, we’re sharing an exercise that can help you articulate your strategy in simple, straightforward terms while enjoying the process at the same time. This is not a senior leader giving a presentation, but rather an interactive exercise that engages your employees. By involving your employees with an activity, they will better grasp the meaning behind your company’s strategy, what the strategy means for them both professionally and personally, and at the same time have a little fun with one another.
Step 1: Schedule at least a 30-minute meeting for this exercise, although longer would be preferable. You can utilize part of a staff meeting, but really commit yourself to this exercise and allotting sufficient time. Some of your employees will quickly have great ideas, while others will need more time to think before they can respond effectively.
Step 2: Divide your employees into small teams. Teams should include at least five staff members, but no more than eight. If possible, give each team their own table or space to work at.
Step 3: Provide each team with a one-page summary of the company’s strategy. Additionally, provide poster board, pens, glue and a manila envelope that can hold two-dozen photos.
Before we go to step 4, why photos you ask? Photos are a critical component of this exercise. Instead of trying to communicate the strategy on a slide deck, or using charts, this exercise will help your team truly visualize the strategy and the meaning behind it. The photos you select for this exercise are very, very important. You can clip photos from magazines, or pull stock photos from online. Photos should be applicable to your strategy, but not obviously so. Here are some examples that would work well:
- An athlete racing down a track or field
- Connected puzzle pieces
- A chess board
- Two people on top of a mountain peak
- Hands working to complete a task
- A team working together
- A bulls eye (dart on a dart board)
Step 4: Give each team an assignment. The assignments will vary so that each team is addressing a specific component of the business strategy. This can include a priority, particular category or keyword. Ask each team to identify a photo that embraces what success looks like for the company. This photo will go at the top of each team’s poster board.
Step 5: Ask each team to brainstorm what the company needs to do in order to achieve success, and have the team write the top three ideas on the poster board under the success photo.
Step 6: For the final step, have each team present their team’s poster. Hang up each poster board around the office, or in the conference room, so that employees can both visualize and discuss all ideas that were presented.
Following this activity moving forward, it is important you act on the suggestions that were discussed. Take time to review the ideas and concepts in depth, and thank the group for their input. For things you cannot implement now, say so and give a reason.
This exercise gives your employees a solid foundation about your company’s strategy, and what that strategy means for them. This doesn’t mean they will have the strategy memorized word for word, but it does mean they will have a greater understanding and appreciation for your company, and where you are ultimately headed long-term.