Aligning your firm’s vision and strategy

Aligning your firm’s vision and strategy

By Alex Shacklock, Director.

At the start of virtually all the learning and development programmes that we run, we ask a simple question…

“Tell us about the firm’s vision and strategy”

Sometimes there is a ‘we want to grow’ comment and maybe even a specific turnover/fee target figure (we then spend time talking about how this is a measure/milestone of how successful the firm is doing against the strategy to achieve the vision!)

Sometimes there are several different ‘stabs’ at a vision and strategy. Often, we are met with blank faces…

As a professional services firm, you know how important it is to have a clear vision and strategy for your business.

A vision is a vivid picture of what could be in the long term, while a strategy is a plan for how your firm will get there.

We know that many firms are clear on who they are, what they want to achieve and how they are going to get there. However, a lack of effective communication and cultural alignment leads to a lack of understanding of these essentials across teams.

Why is it important to communicate a firm’s vision and strategy to employees?

Having a defined vision and strategy is so important. But it is more crucial to communicate your firm’s vision and strategy to your employees.

Here’s why:

  1. It helps employees understand the firm’s goals and objectives and their role in achieving them. This clarity enables them to make better-informed decisions and prioritise their work ensuring that they are adding real value to the firm. Seeing a map of the ‘journey’ ahead can have a positive impact on employee engagement, job satisfaction, and retention.
  2. Communicating the firm’s vision and strategy helps employees develop a sense of ownership and responsibility for their work. When employees understand how their work contributes to the firm’s overall success, it can help to empower and motivate them to perform well.
  3. It can help to create a shared sense of purpose and culture within the firm. When employees share the same values and goals, they are more likely to work together effectively, collaborate more easily, and build stronger working relationships. This shared culture can foster innovation and creativity, leading to improved performance and better client service.
  4. Communicating the firm’s vision and strategy helps employees to better understand the firm’s operating model, competitive position, marketplace challenges, and opportunities. This understanding can lead to more informed decision-making and a proactive mindset.

To ensure that everyone in your firm understands your vision and strategy, it is crucial to invest in communicating it to your employees. This can be done through a variety of channels, such as company meetings, newsletters, and online resources. It is also essential to make sure that your vision and strategy are aligned with all of the forces which define your firm’s culture. This means tying it into performance management and reward systems, embedding it into learning interventions, ensuring that leaders are leading with the vision and strategy in mind etc) .

How can you communicate your firm’s vision and strategy to your employees?

Remember, it takes time to build trust and understanding. Don’t expect everyone to get on board with the vision and strategy overnight (and some may never ‘get on the bus’) but these tips will help to improve the understanding of, and engagement with,  your vision and strategy:

  • Make sure that the vision and strategy are clear and concise.
  • Use language that everyone can understand.
  • Explain how the vision and strategy will benefit employees.
  • Get employees involved in the development of the vision and strategy.
  • Communicate the vision and strategy regularly.
  • Celebrate successes along the way.

Helping your teams clearly understand who you are, where you want to get to and how you can get there will result in a stronger competitive position in the marketplace.

What should you consider when you communicate your firm’s vision and strategy to your employees?

How you communicate your firm’s vision and strategy will determine whether everyone in your firm is on the same page or not and working towards the same goals. Here are some tips to help you achieve this:

Use storytelling

People remember information better when it’s presented in a story format. When you communicate your vision and strategy, use stories to illustrate your points. This will help employees understand your vision and strategy on a deeper level.

Be consistent

Communicate your vision and strategy regularly. Don’t just communicate it once and forget about it. Keep reminding employees of the vision and strategy, and how their work fits into the overall picture.

Be authentic

Your employees can tell when you’re not being genuine. If you’re not passionate about the vision and strategy, your employees won’t be either. So, make sure that you truly believe in your vision and strategy and communicate it with passion and enthusiasm.

Be transparent

Don’t try to sugar-coat things. If there are challenges ahead, be honest about them. Employees will appreciate your honesty, and they’ll be more likely to trust you if they know that you’re being truthful with them.

Be positive

Focus on the future and what you can achieve together. Don’t dwell on the past or on the challenges that you’re facing. Instead, focus on what you can do to move forward.

Be patient

Building trust and understanding takes time. Don’t expect everyone to get on board with the vision and strategy overnight. Just keep communicating and keep working towards your goals.

Use visuals

People remember information that is presented visually. When you communicate your vision and strategy, use visuals, such as charts, graphs, and images. This will help employees understand the vision and strategy more easily.

Make it interactive

Don’t just talk ‘at’ your employees. Get them involved in the conversation. Ask questions and encourage them to share their thoughts and ideas. This will help to ensure that everyone is on the same page.

Celebrate successes

When employees achieve milestones, be sure to celebrate their success. This will help to keep them motivated and engaged.

What should your firm do?

If your vision and strategy are falling down, it is worth spending time trying to fix it. This strategic clarity is so important in attracting, recruiting, retaining, developing, and engaging people. In driving performance. In decision-making. In client attraction and service.

These tips will help with communicating your vision and strategy, aligning people with it and creating engagement and motivation to achieve it. Remember, effective communication is key to achieving success as a firm.

Get in touch with us

If you need help to clarify your vision and strategy or if you are struggling to communicate it to your employees in an honest and authentic way so that they can help you deliver on the firm’s objectives, then please call 0333 7722 061 or email Kate here and we can arrange a time to talk.