Most of us know that our businesses cannot succeed without a purpose. Why we do what we do and how we connect with our customers give us our identity within the marketplace.  However, our work doesn’t end with our purpose and strategic concepts; we must turn our big ideas into tangible and executable business goals.

A survey by the One Harvard Business Review found that less than 40% of its leaders felt that their business operations and model were aligned with their purpose. The connection between ‘why’ and ‘how’ is fundamental to how we show up for our customers and how they experience working with us.

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What are the steps to turn your ‘Why’ into your ‘How’?

Create your story

To connect your ‘why’ with your ‘how’, you need to help your employees to understand what it is that you’re trying to achieve. For others to share in your vision, they need to understand it, and for them to deliver, they also need to believe in it and care about it. Without this, even the most polished and well-formatted strategy will go unread and not achieve its aims; we need to engage our teams in the narrative.

Our brains respond to stories, and using a story-based narrative for your teams will help individuals to understand your intentions better; actively engaging your team and stakeholders in this way will help to underpin your strategy, bringing it to life – what would success look and feel like?

Have a communication plan

Lack of communication and unclear communication, alongside resistance to change, regularly appear in lists of why strategies fail; these issues are linked. Change is scary; we let go of our safety blankets and step into the unknown. But, when we communicate consistently and clearly, change becomes less scary.

Open, honest and people-focused communication delivered regularly throughout change is most impactful. Sharing information, even the smallest details, assists individuals in understanding the plan, an absence of information or lack of clarity gives space for individuals to create their own narrative.

Having an open dialogue also enables your teams to share their concerns with you; providing opportunities to clarify intentions, adjust plans and refine the approach, as well as allowing you to celebrate successes and embed the changes. Maintaining this communication will have lasting effects and help to deliver your strategy long-term.

Set clear responsibilities and priorities 

Unclear roles and responsibilities, as well as conflicting priorities, are key reasons for the failure to deliver strategic goals. To help combat this issue, provide your teams and individuals with ownership and responsibility for delivery, allowing them the space to translate your big picture into short and medium-term goals and deliverables, with these deliverables broken down into tasks and actions.

When responsibilities and priorities are unclear, no one will take full ownership of the goals. By clarifying these, it’s easier to know what needs to be done by who in order to deliver. Setting these out will provide clarity and structure for individuals and teams, as well as make clear how to allocate time and budget to projects.

The business must prioritise goals as they all take time, budget and resources; priorities will compete for a finite amount of these three key elements.

By setting priorities, you will help managers and teams to understand where to focus their time, money and resources and empower them to make difficult decisions about when to divert resources from other tasks.

Monitor progress

Change isn’t a linear process; many variables can impact on execution and delivery. Therefore, it’s imperative to monitor progress. You don’t want to find out after the fact that something has failed – it’s far more desirable to understand the barriers and set about a corrective course of action.

Check on progress regularly; how you approach this will depend on the set-up of your business but could include daily check-ins, project steering committees, monthly reporting or having clear milestone checkpoints.

What’s important is creating a culture where your team can raise when they have issues and need help, feel accountable and buy into your strategic narrative.

If you need help on defining your purpose or translating your ‘why’ into ‘how’, we would love to help.  Please call us today to speak to a member of our team.

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