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6 steps to communicate your strategy

For any purpose-driven group or organisation, the reason for developing a strategy should be to enact real and lasting change. But in too many instances (and we've all experienced these) a strategy can remain in the realm of ideas and paper, rather than making a substantive difference through visible activity.

Having experimented in lots of different settings to get a strategic vision to translate to strategic action, my firm conviction is that communication is paramount to bringing strategy to life - both for those inside the organisation, and for those outside.

So, I was heartened recently to discover that MIT Sloan Management Review had really clearly explained the six steps that leaders in any organisation should take to communicate their strategy. Whilst focused on for-profit companies, I think the same principles apply for non-profit or social enterprise organisations:-

1) Limit strategic priorities to a handful [Nobody can remember priority #27!]
2) Provide a concise explanation of what a priority means [The more concise you try to be, the more it will force you to be specific]
3) Clarify how a priority will be accomplished [Otherwise others begin to loose faith - assuming it's all wishful thinking]
4) Explain why a priority matters [This is particularly important if it isn't immediately obvious how this priority contributes to your mission]
5) Measure progress toward achieving the priority [This helps keep people motivated AND realistic]
6) Set specific targets for the future [This demonstrates seriousness of intent, and also allows people to make good prioritisation decisions]

So - if you're concerned that your agreed strategy isn't on track, think about whether you're communicating it fully to those around you!