Plan a People Strategy like a Product Strategy

on February 29, 2012

The first thing you might be thinking is – what is a people strategy?  What I mean is a company-wide strategy or a division initiative rollout, for example.  You need people to make those things happen successfully.  The interesting part of that process? A people strategy is going to have a greater magnitude of impact than a mere product launch.  Don’t worry, I’m not dissing the importance of a product launch – I know it keeps the lights on and people in their jobs!  What I’m getting at is that at most companies a company-wide launch of a new initiative or strategy typically doesn’t involve nearly the level of planning that goes into a product launch.  And that’s probably not a good thing.

Think about what usually goes into product development planning and then the rollout of that product to the market.  Your engineers, product developers, software programmers, product marketing, and customer service teams, to just name a few groups, do a ton of research, put together project plans, build the product, develop messaging and marketing materials, finalize pricing, and educate the sales force and the front line.  This is a HUGE endeavor and it takes months (or even years) to get all of the pieces in place.

Now think about the last time your company rolled out its new 5-year plan or announced a new strategic initiative that is designed to help the company grow significantly.  What went into that rollout?  If it was like many of the strategy deployments I’ve been involved in at other companies over the years, it probably went something like this:

  • The CEO announced the new strategy at an all-company meeting.
  • Maybe there was a follow-up email that went out to the whole company reinforcing some of the key points that the CEO discussed.
  • Some training was given to the department that was going to have the biggest impact on that strategy – in most cases, the sales team.
  • Then that was it… until the next new strategy was announced by the CEO at an all-company meeting

Now,  there are varying incarnations of company strategy rollouts; some may look like my past experiences and some may involve a bit more than what I listed.  But in all likelihood, it doesn’t involve the time and effort that companies put into a product launch.  Check out this video from Root president and client fanatic, Rich Berens, as he talks in more detail about treating your company strategy like a consumer product launch strategy.

Let me know what your last company strategy launch looked like; I’d love to hear about it!


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