Why does the conductor yell, “All aboard?”
Because it doesn’t really matter where the train is going if the
passengers are not on the train! Are you doing what it takes to help
your people get on board?
Whether you are issuing a change in direction or just expecting
everyone to have strategic clarity so they can make the right daily
decisions to move your organization forward, you need a process for
getting everyone on board. Here’s a simple four-point plan:
1. Start with the senior team, the VPs, and ensure there is strategic
clarity – i.e., a common understanding of the
organization’s priorities in simple-to-say, easy to grasp terms.
2. Work closely with senior managers (VPs in a small organization) to
establish best practices and expectations for convening their
respective units and
discussing how they contribute to the strategic priorities. Set a
deadline for when this will be done.
3. Conduct an all staff meeting that allows everyone to speak. No
talking heads. Distribute the priorities in advance to all staff and
ask them to put on a knowledge fair or information marketplace that
shows others how they are supporting the strategic priorities in their
group. Make it fun. Let people wander around. Give away some awards for
best presentation, most fun, most creative.
4. Provide a talking points toolkit and FAQ to all
managers, helping them to have an interactive conversation with their
subordinates. The focus of the conversation: to create a solid line
between their subordinates’ day-to-day operations and achievement of
the organization’s strategic priorities.
Make this an annual sequence to ensure staff stay on track, or initiate
it when there is a substantial change. Then you will be sure to have
everyone contributing what they can to take your organization forward.