A couple of weeks ago a CEO expressed their frustration at employees not understanding the company strategy. They said: “when I ask employees to explain our strategy, each person gives a different answer. What can I do?”
It’s not an unusual problem and we hear it often. When the Harvard Business Review studied high-performing companies with ‘clearly articulated public strategies,’ they found that only 29% of employees could correctly identify their company’s strategy out of six choices.
CEOs may not have delved into the decades of research into the importance of strategic alignment on employee productivity. But intuitively they understand there’s a problem if employees don’t know where the company’s heading and how we’re all going to get there.
So what’s the blocker?
It’s not what CEOs want to hear, but most employees don’t care about strategy. Or at least they don’t care if two things are missing.
Firstly, the strategy must be in service of a bigger idea that employees really care about. If the only goal of your strategy is to increase shareholder value, don’t be surprised if employees don’t share your enthusiasm.
And, secondly, employees need to see which bits of the strategy are relevant to what they do in their jobs every day. If employees can’t make this connection, why should they be interested in the strategy, and much less, in making it a reality?