Any company worth its salt has a strategy, a directional roadmap, that indicates the route to be pursued in order to reach its goals. Most companies spend considerable time and effort crafting a strategy, but seldom achieve the results they aspire towards. Oftentimes this is because the plan is overly complicated, hard to connect with and bogged down by verbiage.
What’s needed is a strategy on a page.
Visually appealing, designed to pull out key points and highlight the golden stars of a corporate strategy, a strategy-on-a-page pays homage to the science required to build an effective corporate strategy and execution plan. It then takes this complexity and refines it down into a simple message, one that is easier to connect with, retain and act upon.
Rather than a Picasso or a Monet, this is the sort of corporate art you want hanging on your office wall. A visual representation of your company’s projected journey which is designed to be understood and used, not hidden away in a cupboard gathering dust or locked – unrelatable and inaccessible – in a PowerPoint presentation.
“When you blow up your one-page corporate strategy into an A1 poster and hang it on the wall for all to see, there is no straying off course: those coordinates are out there, big and bold.”
But beware: Simplifying a strategy sufficiently to do it justice on just one page is in itself an intricate process. One that necessitates taking the time and effort to struggle and wrestle with the core of the strategy, to highlight the gems and the essential takeaways. If you regard your strategy-on-a-page as a GPS, then it’s crucial to include all the prime coordinates along the route towards your destination.
A committed plan of action
When you blow up your one-page corporate strategy into an A1 poster and hang it on the wall for all to see, there is no straying off course: those coordinates are out there, big and bold. But that’s not the only benefit of adopting a strategy-on-a-page approach.
While the specifics for each company will differ, over the years we’ve found that clearly articulating strategy in this manner creates alignment within the organisation, pulling people towards the common vision and helping them to adopt consistent messaging which ensures they can easily articulate the future direction of the business. This doesn’t just apply to those in the C-suite, if you take the time to create a clear and concise message – by filtering out the hyperbole and focusing on the core plan – then it is possible to more clearly define the individual role and contribution that each member of the organisation brings to the party, from your call centre workers to middle managers and company directors. Not only does this clarity help to get all employees singing off the same hymn sheet, it also sorts the sopranos from the baritones to ensure better strategic harmony.
Furthermore, by displaying a visible representation of the game plan for all to see, you create a daily reference point which keeps everyone in the organisation on point. Research compiled by the 3M corporation, the company that gifted the world Post-it Notes, a visual message is processed “60 000 times faster than text”. This, psychologists such as Albert Mehrabian tell us, is because our brains can understand and decipher images simultaneously, while words are processed in a slower, more linear fashion. In other words, we process visual information on a single page faster and more effectively than we would a page of text, plus we retain the visual information more clearly.
“Using your strategy-on-a-page as a living roadmap makes the reflection of progress made over time easier to acknowledge, which in turn creates the potential for meaningful moments of collective celebration.”
In addition, using visual devices to condense a variety of different perspectives onto a single page enables you to represent multiple views relating to different divisions within the organisation. This helps to create a united focus and culture for your organisation by defining a common direction which, in turn, builds cohesion.
Using your strategy-on-a-page as a living roadmap makes the reflection of progress made over time easier to acknowledge, which in turn creates the potential for meaningful moments of collective celebration. This keeps injecting focus and vitality into your strategy as it becomes more than just an artwork or visual wish list, but a real route map which shows how far you’ve come as an organisation and what you’ve achieved as a team.
Keep it simple
An engaging, focused and enticing strategy-on-a-page is a simple but effective tool for communicating your corporate strategy. If you can’t articulate your strategy in one page then it is extremely likely that your strategic message will be lost in translation.
A living strategy-on-a-page, proudly displayed on your office wall, not only keeps goals front of mind, but creates a talking point for staff and customers alike. And that’s what makes it such an effective tool.