Project Portfolio Management

How to Use Your Strategy Stories to Motivate Team Alignment

Before making grand declarations about team strategy, Paul Keijzer recommends downing a cold shot of reality. In a post to B2C, Keijzer explains how ambitious strategy can complicate a team’s mission and create unnecessary expectations. Rather than thinking big and then waiting for the inevitable disappointment, one should reduce the portfolio strategy to a single story. More than a half-hearted approach, this narrative method has some surprising virtues. 

A Simple Story Sells

As Keijzer points out, there is a fruitful paradox to evangelizing with a minimalist strategy. First of all, by focusing on a single important mission, the team can achieve crystal clarity about what needs to be done. By aiming a microscope at this singular goal, the group can tease out multiple underlying factors that are the true objectives of the initiative, the whys of the project. In this sense, simplification leads to a better understanding of complexity.

Spread the Word

Staying simple is also an excellent way to sell your strategy to a broader audience. To illustrate this point Keijer gives an example of a story about a strategy that was not simplified:

After a couple of months the CEO noticed that the strategy was not gaining traction and most of the people were continuing to do their own old work. He asked his team to find out why. What they found was that where [the CEO and his team] had taken three months to understand and mold the strategy, they…expected their employees to understand [it] after a 30 minute town hall session. No surprise it didn’t work.

In truth, the majority of companies suspect that their strategies are never fully understood by employees. Such companies are failing to weave their story throughout the organization. By actively engaging management and staff, and by telling each individual a different form of the same story, a plethora of perspectives are aligned behind a single shared vision.

Now that you’ve had your cold shot of reality, it’s time to spread the word. If nothing else, avoid emailing it as a PowerPoint slide.

Read the entire article at:!bvxcWR

Eric Anderson

Eric Anderson is a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success. He is an intern at Computer Aid Inc., pursuing his master's degree in communications at Penn State University.

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