Where are your Stakeholders on their Journey to Strategic Commitment?
The success of your strategy is reliant on the support and commitment of your various stakeholders. While committed stakeholders help advance your agenda, adversarial stakeholders can undermine and sabotage your strategy execution. Building stakeholder support is a critical and often overlooked step in the strategic process.
The common oversight and gap in the development and execution of strategy is the failure to properly engage stakeholders in the journey. However even more elementary is understanding who these stakeholder groups are. During strategy development and execution, we generally place greater emphasis on the financial and technical details but fail to adequately address the human aspects needed to build the necessary broad engagement and support.
Culturesque’s Journey to Commitment is a framework and process for mapping these critical relationships and the best path to achieve strategic commitment. When mapping the current state, there are five possible states that individuals and groups can fall within:
- Commitment: All in. Proactively finds ways to support success. Feels connected to and engaged with the vision, goals and strategy
- Positive Conformity: Readiness to comply with the work needed to achieve goals and results. Is a team player
- Acquiescence: Reluctantly complies to keep one’s job. Will do what’s expected. Not actively engaged with achieving success.
- Active Scepticism: They have seen similar processes or projects not work in the past. Will take a wait and see approach. Actively looking for failures.
- Subversive: Is not supportive and will potentially work against or actively undermine the process. Will likely be vocal in their opposition.
Building commitment in some cases can be as simple as communication and education, in other situations it requires much greater engagement and investment, especially where it relates to overcoming trust issues, fears or insecurities around change, and what the strategy and future potentially means for the individual or stakeholder group.
Who are Your Strategic Stakeholders?
It’s a question that is too often overlooked when developing and executing on the strategy.
For most companies, internal stakeholders can be broken into three tiers: leadership, management and employees. More and more we are finding these groups, especially employees are not homogenic when it comes to strategy engagement and commitment, especially in larger complex global businesses where we see significant differences in strategic commitment based on culture and geography, operational function, and generational stage.
External strategic stakeholders have traditionally been limited to shareholders and customers, but more recently we are seeing a third brought forward into the process, community. Greater community awareness and higher expectations on corporate social responsibility and its potential impact on corporate brand are now elevating this stakeholder group into the strategic discussion.
Maximising the Strategic Impact:
The Journey to Commitment process maximizes the impact of your strategy by understanding how best to engage each of the strategic stakeholders in your pursuit of the vision and goals of the organization. In following the Journey to Commitment process, organizations not only strengthen the strategic development and execution process, they also:
- Improve clarity of vision and direction
- Develop a compelling ‘story’ that resonates with the various stakeholder groups
- Strengthen strategic alignment
- Create a stronger connection and purpose for employees
- Permits employees to understand how their function and role supports the future success of the organization, and make the appropriate business decisions accordingly
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