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Insider secrets: How to launch your corporate strategy and make it stick

Around the world, headlines are dominated by political and socio-economic plot twists. Major shifts are underway in how we live, how we work and what we expect from business and society. An unprecedented level of change is creating uncertainty, slowing down decision-making and pressing pause as companies try to anticipate what might come next.

In times like these, the future success of any company rests on its ability to adapt – to shape shift at speed, look for new opportunities and break into new markets. This often results in the launch of a new strategy to keep an organisation focused and help them navigate the change.

Wondering how to launch your new strategy successfully? We asked two seasoned professionals for their insider secrets on how to make it happen.

Meet the insiders                 

The Strategy Pro: Leila Stansfield, VP – Strategy, Bacardi Limited

Leila’s background in strategy, finance and marketing made her the perfect fit for her current role driving Bacardi’s global corporate strategy from their HQ in Bermuda.

The Comms Pro: Paul Diggins, Vice President – Internal Communications, Elsevier

Paul’s 20-year career has seen him deliver major strategic transformation programmes for

the likes of Barclays, Direct Line Group, Rolls Royce and, most recently, information analytics business Elsevier.

Embedding strategy: The inside scoop…

Tip #1: Co-create, co-create, co-create

Leila: “It’s really important that you allow your people to co-own the development of the strategy in the first place, as well as how you launch it to the company. It helps people to take ownership of the change, which we found makes driving the strategy into action more successful.

At Bacardi, co-creation, working together and challenging whether we are being fearless enough is part of our DNA, so actually people want and expect to have a role in shaping our direction.”

Paul: “If you want to engage people in your new strategy, ideally you want to involve them as much as possible in its creation. At the very least, you need to allow them to discover for themselves where they fit – it really helps with ongoing ownership and alignment.”

The bottom line: Don’t assume that the only people with good ideas are the ones sat around the boardroom table. Bring your people in early to help you decide the direction of travel – it means they’ll take responsibility for making it a reality once it launches. If you have already set out your strategy look for ways you can involve people in the how.    

Tip #2: Get real and communicate authentically

Leila: “Never stop communicating. It’s really important that you understand how the strategy comes to life through different lenses of the company and can communicate it in ways that are relevant whether you are on a production line or in sales.

I have learnt a huge amount from hearing the strategy played back to me from the rest of the team, using their own language and examples.”

Paul: “If the content’s not up for grabs and your strategy is a done deal, don’t pretend there’s an opportunity for real inputs. Focus on embedding it and helping people ‘get it’ and then take ownership of it, rather than taking input or feedback that will never be acted on.”

The bottom line: Don’t expect your people to see your vision clearly without proper communication. Articulate the why and give people opportunities to ask questions and challenge your thinking. Not all change is positive – be sensitive but be straight with your people about what it means and why.

Tip #3: From vision to reality, translate strategy into action as soon as possible

Leila: “Don’t try to control your strategy too much. Let people take ownership by putting their stamp on it and interpreting for themselves how they want to bring it to life.”

Paul: “Give people a framework of enquiry to shape the finished article, then roll it out through people managers so they are able to own change within their teams and contextualise against day-to-day roles.”

The bottom line: Show a clear path for the future but allow your people to figure out for themselves what it means in practice. Equip your line managers to be your change-makers on the ground – without their support, your strategy can – and will – fail.

Get in touch at welcome@brandbiology.com to find out how we have helped some of the world’s best loved brands land their strategies.

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