How To Adapt Your Team To A New Strategic Direction

Change is often necessary to adapt to evolving markets, new competition, or to simply drive growth. Having the ability to recognize when a pivot is needed and make the necessary changes can be hard, but aligning your team to your new strategic direction can be even more difficult.

An employee’s belief in a company or leader’s mission is a strong source of motivation. When that mission changes, employees can easily lose that motivation and feel indifferent or apathetic while they try to understand the rationale and purpose behind your pivot.

The last thing you want when pivoting your business is for your team to lose steam, so you must be focused on aligning your employees to your new strategic direction so you can be prepared to move quickly and execute successfully. 

If you’re looking to adapt your teams to a new strategic direction, proper business planning is key. Here is how to approach it:

Start At The Top

Aligning your organization to a new direction starts at the top of the org chart. Your leaders set the example for the entire company. Therefore, you must bring your company’s leaders together, develop the new direction as a team, then act as a cohesive unit to help carry your new vision across the organization. Employees will be more likely to align to your mission if they’re hearing a consistent message across your leadership team.

It might also be a good time to re-evaluate your leadership team to make sure you’re staffed with the right people to execute your mission.

Sell Your Vision

After you’ve aligned your leadership team, it’s time to sell your vision to the rest of the organization. To create a sense of transparency, we recommend presenting your strategic change in an all-hands or town hall meeting. Then, follow up with individual teams in smaller group sessions. During these meetings, make sure to:

  • Be transparent about why you’ve decided to make the change
  • Highlight aspects of your strategy that will drive enthusiasm and commitment
  • Give your teams the opportunity to ask questions
  • Make sure to connect your strategic direction to your company’s core mission and values
  • Challenge employees to step up and take on new challenges and responsibilities.

Connect The Work To Business Outcomes

Workers feel a sense of fulfillment when they can see how their contributions tie directly to business outcomes. When communicating your new vision, make sure to describe each team’s role and how it contributes to the bigger picture. This will provide your teams with a much-needed sense of purpose as they help to steer your company towards its new direction.

Make The Business Planning Process Collaborative

Your employees are your most valuable asset and you’ll be dependent on them to execute the change. They also have valuable perspectives. Therefore, creating a collaborative business planning process where employees can contribute ideas and perspectives is an ideal environment. As a leader, this is also where you should practice active listening skills and provide teams with a clear channel to provide feedback.

Track Progress

As you shift your organization’s priorities, you must have a plan in place to measure progress towards your overall goal. It’s up to the executive team to define the key performance indicators that will be used to track results. These could be financial indicators, efficiency indicators, or even customer feedback. Once you’ve defined indicators, then you must set goals in order to quantify progress. Finally, you’ll want to make sure all teams across your organization are clear on those goals.  Posting these key performance indicators clearly in public areas enhances awareness – for both employees and for guests or visitors (clients, vendors, etc.) to your business.

Recognize And Celebrate The Wins

Once you start moving towards your new strategic direction, take the time to celebrate wins, both large and small. Recognition is an essential part of employee engagement and retention, and there are many ways to do it:

  • Treat teams to lunch after completing a major milestone
  • Send out a monthly email highlighting major achievements
  • Call out top performers during team meetings
  • Award extra time off, bonuses, or gift cards.

Managers should remember that recognition means different things to different people, so it’s important to work to find out what form of recognition best resonates with your teams and each team member.

Changing your strategic direction requires multiple moving pieces, but one of your top priorities should be aligning your team to your mission. By being transparent, building consensus, enabling collaboration, and tracking and celebrating milestones, you can build an agile culture that is capable of meeting your new challenge.

Aligning your teams to a new direction is possible, but not easy. If you’re struggling to pivot your organization toward a new vision, contact Lilly Consulting Group today. We’ve helped companies of all sizes resolve business challenges, improve operations, and become more efficient.

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