LSA Global Insights Newsletter: Surprising Strategy Communications Research for Leadership Teams

June 23, 2018

Surprising Strategy Communications Research for Leadership Teams

graphic of a man totally confused by too many messages

Strategy communications can make or break a company's ability to execute their plans.
Strategy communications are about creating employee understanding, belief and cohesion.  Being clear and consistent with strategy communications pays big dividends to the people AND to the business

Why Effective Strategy Communications Matter to the Business
Our organizational alignment research found that strategic clarity accounts for 31% of the difference between high and low performing organizations in terms of:
  • Revenue growth
  • Profitability
  • Customer loyalty
  • Employee engagement
Why Effective Strategy Communications Matter to Employees
Our employee engagement data over the last three years shows that "employees trusting that leaders have set the right strategic course" has the second highest correlation to employee engagement right after leadership's perceived "commitment to making it a great place to work."
Additionally, employees tell us that it is difficult and frustrating to be expected to help move a strategic plan forward unless they fully understand and buy-into the:
  • Unique role that they play
  • Specific contribution that they make
  • Critical few reasons why the strategy will make them, their team and the company successful
Strategy Communications Research
Research by Harvard turned up some rather surprising data.  After analyzing over 60,000 survey responses, they expected to find that strategy was best understood and accepted by:
  • Higher-level employees
  • Those who were generally content with their compensation
  • Employees who had a positive view of their organization
And the results bore out those anticipated results. It makes sense to us that those who are more involved in creating the strategy would better understand and accept it. It also makes sense that more engaged employees tend to feel more connected to the company goals.
The Surprising Part
The surprising part was that top leadership had a far greater impact and much greater direct role on how well employees "got" the strategy than their immediate supervisors. While employees still want their direct supervisors help in translating the overall strategy for their team and for their job, they want to hear more directly and early on from top leaders about overall strategies, perspectives and trends to set the stage.
The Implications for Cascading Your Strategy
What does this mean to companies embarking on a new strategy that requires focus, commitment and perseverance? It means that leadership communication strategies probably need to be adjusted. 

Instead of having senior leadership explain the strategy to upper management who then relays the strategy to middle managers who are then tasked with cascading the strategy down to the front-line, leaders should plan to play a more active role across all levels and functions.
The Bottom Line
While some may balk at such a significant investment of a leader's time, what could be more important than making sure your company understands, believes in and is fully committed to your critical few strategic plans and priorities? Invest the time to ensure your employees:
  • Clearly understand the strategic priorities and the rationale behind them
  • Can articulate how their work directly contributes to the overall success of the strategy
  • Believe the strategy will lead to successful results
  • Are committed to implementing the strategy successfully across the company

Voice of the Customer

"Having tripled in size and recently merged, LSA helped our executive team with strategic clarity to increase our level of alignment, solidify our new direction and push our agency forward. As we look to rapidly scale, the clear and actionable priorities have really set us up for success. This is exactly what we needed to get to the next level."
Matt Britton | CEO | MRY, a Publicis Groupe Company

About LSA Global
Founded in 1995, LSA Global is a leading performance consulting and training firm that helps high growth technology, services, and life-science companies create a competitive advantage by powerfully aligning their culture and talent with their strategy. Learn more about getting aligned