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Package your strategy to ensure alignment

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Develop a strategy statement as a way of engaging and including staff, volunteers and beneficiaries in your new strategy.

The need for a simple statement about your strategy

If you can produce a simple statement that captures your strategy, you can then use it to engage your key stakeholders and get them aligned to your strategic direction. Your stakeholders in this sense can mean any group or individual whom you need to understand and engage with: staff, volunteers, beneficiaries, your public and so on....

Packaging your strategy

Think about the process of 'packaging your strategy' in the same way as any communications exercise: define who the communication is for and what the needs of these groups are; work out how to get their interest and involvement; think about the most appropriate style and approach for them; then craft a simple and engaging statement that meets their needs. 

Packaging strategy involves the following four steps. Take the steps in sequence and use your work in each step to feed the next:

  1. Stakeholder mapping
  2. Getting Attention, Interest, Desire and Action (AIDA)
  3. Paying attention to style and approach
  4. Crafting the strategy statement.

1) Stakeholder mapping 

This is a simple tool to help you to prioritise where to spend your efforts in engaging with people that might be in a position to support you.

The principle is that some people might have interest in your cause to a greater or lesser degree. Others will have influence to a greater or lesser degree.

This tool enables you to plot people according to how much interest they have in your cause, and how much influence they have.

For example:

  • A = Jane Jones, Director of Public Health
  • B = Michael Smith, Voluntary Sector Grants Manager
  • C = Matt Kennedy, Social prescribing service manager 

Stakeholder engagement matrix

Which one is worth spending your time and energy on?

The more power and contribution, the more you prioritise your time with them and the closer the communication medium (eg face-to-face).

  • High influence/high interest: Engage 1:1
  • High influence/low interest: Monitor needs and keep satisfied (aim to move top right)
  • Low influence/high interest: Engage in groups
  • Low influence/low interest: Keep informed (aim to move bottom right)

2) AIDA

Once the key stakeholders for strategy implementation have been identified (those with a high priority), an analysis of their engagement needs and expectations can take place. 

The communications strategy will comprise tools and techniques designed to:

  • A - get their attention
  • I - stimulate their interest
  • D - create a desire in them to engage with the strategy
  • A - get them inspired into action.

AIDA diagram

Diagram illustrating the AIDA steps for analysing stakeholder needs and expectations

Description of the AIDA diagram

Think AIDA - ask yourself what will get your stakeholders' attention, interest, desire and action. The level of engagement increases with each of the AIDA goals, with 'action' involving the most engagement.

Achieving the AIDA goals

Ask yourself what messages and media will help achieve each AIDA goal. You can use this template to help set out your thinking:

 

Key audiencesPreferred media and message
Stakeholder Needs and expectations Attention Interest Desire Action
           
           
           

3) Pay attention to style and approach

Being appreciative

  • The power of a positive vision (desirable and achievable images that pull people towards them).
  • People are attracted to positive things: passion, hope, confidence.
  • Be clear about what positive outcomes you are seeking; these stakeholders are the ones that will enable your strategy, so be clear about what you need of them.
  • Use positive language and behaviours to energise and inspire.
  • Make communications 2-way: a conversation.  ‘Conversation doesn’t just reshuffle the cards, it creates new cards'.
  • Be clear about what people can get involved in creating (and therefore what they can't be involved in).

Planning communications around strategic change

  • Communicate the context and the full picture.
  • Communicate the why as well as the what.
  • Build on the good.
  • Maximise the sense of continuity and stability.
  • Do not wait - invest enough time.
  • Communicate probabilities and scenarios.
  • Give the timescale.
  • Make face to face the main communication channel.
  • Explain the implications for the individual.
  • Use involvement to get commitment - what can people have a part in creating?

4) The strategy statement

The key to engagement is clarity about future direction in a statement that:

  • is simple, short, clear, easy to communicate and internalise
  • contains the key implementation message forming the foundation stone for engagement
  • can be used for internal and external stakeholders.

Such a statement gives:

  • clarity of expectations (your expectations of them): alignment – all moving in the same direction
  • clarity about what they can contribute, and a basis for the performance management cascade
  • focus and a view of priority: integration across the organisation
  • criteria for decision making
  • ‘guiding light for making difficult choices’.

Force yourself to be crystal clear in your strategy statement

The objective of your strategy:

  • What is your strategy designed to achieve?
  • What will drive your organisation for the next three years?

The scope of your strategy:

  • What are the boundaries?
  • Where will you not go?
  • What will you not do?

The advantage your strategy will deliver:

  • what you will do differently or better than others
  • what beneficiaries and funders will get from you (and no-one else).

Use this template to help guide you through the process of developing a strategy statement (Word)

Further reading

Page last edited Apr 28, 2017

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