I heard an interesting comparison recently. When you see people on the street talking to themselves, they are often classified as “insane.” Yet what do we call it when we talk to ourselves inside organizations? “Marketing or communications.”
Unfortunately, that type of talking to oneself—where leaders speak TO their own understanding and perspectives instead of engaging WITH employees—happens too frequently. And the consequences can be staggering. The first misstep many leaders make is packaging their business strategy into a neat theme, slogan or logo that has no real connection with the strategy itself. As long as it looks pretty or sounds catchy, employees will “get it.” Right? Wrong.
Every interaction with employees is a precious chance to make sure they’re working hard on behalf of the business. Distracting them with a theme or logo that doesn’t mean anything is simply a lost opportunity to connect, foster dialogue, answer questions and any number of best practices that inspire and motivate employees
So you have your strategy in place. And now you want to introduce it to employees, along with a key theme. Ask these questions:
- Does the theme resonate with your employees? Can they see themselves in it, or is it something only senior-most leaders will understand or identify with?
- Does it help drive the behaviors you want to see in every last employee?
- Is it easily adaptable or customizable for business units or geographies to continue to drive relevance further down in your organization?
- Does it connect to your larger organizational branding?
- Have you tested your theme with employees and adapted it based on their feedback?
Talking TO employees is a lot easier than talking WITH them. Make sure everything associated with your strategy—from the words that describe it, to the theme or logo that represents it—resonates with those very people on whom you’re relying for success. That’s turning “talking to ourselves” into true “communications."
How are you ensuring your employees see themselves in your strategy?
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