Thankfully most of the clients I work with understand that in order to get their people engaged in their strategy, it can’t just exist as a ‘plan on a page’ or in a PowerPoint deck. They know that they need to bring it to life in a way that will engage and excite their people. That’s why we turn that strategy into a compelling story that will connect with people emotionally. While this is a great start, it is only the first step to engaging your people. If you want to engage you entire organisation and keep them engaged over time, there are 5 key steps to follow:
- Turn your strategy into a compelling story; Take that ‘plan on a page’ and turn it into a story everyone can relate to. Give people a compelling story about your past as well as your future and create a line of sight for all employees to your goals, purpose and vision. Let them know the key difference they make in bringing your strategy to life.
- Create a compelling story vehicle; Everyone has a different way of communicating. Some people are more comfortable getting up and telling a story than others. Creating a compelling vehicle for your story enables you to tell that story the same way every time, no matter who is telling it or where in the world you are sharing it.
- Personalise the story for key audiences; Now that you have your story and vehicle, identify who the key leaders are that will be taking the story out to the business. Get these leaders to create their own personal version of the story that will answer the question “What doe this mean for me and my team?” In this way you will ensure that the story is specifically relevant and engaging to your key audiences.
- Launch your story with impact; When you launch the story you want to ensure it has the biggest impact possible and aligns everyone around the story. You want people to not only see and hear the story, but also to experience it and feel that something is different. What are all the other stories in your organisation that connect to your strategy? How can you show people that you are already living it? If you can do this, you will capture your peoples hearts and minds.
- Align your communication channels to your story; Now that you have engaged everyone, make sure that all your communication channels are telling the same story. That the key messages are aligned, that the style of communication and the language reflect that of your story. In this way you will be able to embed your story in your organisation and make your story more than just a one off event.
This five steps will ensure that your organisation is engaged, but if you want to sustain this over time there is one more step you can take. Embed storytelling capability in your organisation.
Train your leaders in the art and science of storytelling so that they can capture the hearts and minds of the people they lead.
Give them the tools to train others so that you can create a groundswell of storytellers. This will also enable you to capture the great stories already being told in your organisation.