All relationships require communication to thrive. Whether it’s a marriage or a business partnership, the transparency in communication will set the tone for how that relationship grows and evolves. Sure, all relationships have gaps in communication sometimes. There are misunderstandings among spouses and disconnects between employers and employees every single day. But there’s a fix. It takes cooperation from all parties… and with that commitment comes a healthy, functional relationship. The solution is a bridge and you need to build one. Like right now. But instead of using concrete and other materials you’d find among a fleet of construction trucks; this bridge is built on the language you use to communicate about strategic direction.
Put yourself in your employees’ shoes for a moment. How would you feel if you didn’t understand the big picture of your company? What if you had no real grasp of the competitive, economic, technological, customer, market, and environmental realities that drive the business you work in every day? What kind of employee would you be?
Now imagine that every single soul walking the halls of your organization truly understands his or her role in the company’s success. Everyone is focused on the same end goal and how to get there. All of your employees come together to form a cohesive strategic powerhouse ready to tackle any change coming down the pike. What if every employee you have is fully invested in the company and ACTS LIKE AN OWNER? C’mon, how dreamy does that sound? Some people say it’s impossible. Others believe it might be doable but is probably just too hard to achieve.
This just in…not only is it possible but frankly, it should be the ONLY way. Because do you know what happens when employees don’t have a grasp on direction?
- They’re not engaged
- They’re less productive
- Your customer service suffers
And, that’s the short list, FYI.
Building this bridge takes teamwork and trust. It’s a two-way street that starts with you – the employer – and the language you use along with the way you communicate. You’ve got to rally your employees and make sure they completely understand the company direction and are ready to own it. Drafting a memo defining your company strategy and mass emailing it to your employees is not going to cut it. If you want people to get your strategy, you need to present it to them in a way that resonates and drives them to operate and make all of their decisions like they’re the owners. Here are three main things, mantras if you will, to guide you as you bridge the gaps and create a culture based on ownership.
- Strategy without execution is meaningless, and execution without engaged people is impossible.
- Visualization has tremendous power to engage people in executing strategy.
- Strategically directed dialogue begets successful strategy execution.
Digest these words. Read them aloud. Frame them around the office. Heck, print them on a t-shirt. These ideals come together to make an impact that will shift the entire culture of your company in the best way possible. When people embrace the strategy and know how they fit into the big picture of making it happen, then they can act like owners.
What do you do to build bridges with your employees and help them act like owners?