Implementing a new strategy or business plan means change. (Unless of course your strategy is just to keep doing everything the way you’ve been doing it.)
Now here is something interesting. On average, 95% of a company’s employees are unaware of, or do not understand, its strategy (Kaplan and Norton 2005).
For any change to work, the people involved have to want to make it happen. How can they want to make it happen if they don’t even know what it is?
Given this strategic murkiness, it’s not surprising that 70% of change initiatives fail. What’s surprising is that any succeed.
So how can you communicate your strategy in a concrete way that helps people not only understand it, but to want to do the hard work of bringing it into being?
Here are three types of stories that will help you create a clear, understandable, and compelling picture.
The story of what is
Find a real example that demonstrates why the current situation is unsatisfactory. People need to see clearly where they are in order to want to implement a change.
The story of what could be
Find a real example that shows what the world could be like after the change is implemented. How does it contrast with the current situation? This story helps people envision the destination. It helps them turn your idea into their idea.
The guide for the journey
Find a series of small stories or examples that show what the terrain will look like along the way, acknowledging risks and hardships and recognising wins and rewards. People feel more comfortable trying something new if they have a realistic idea what to expect.
With the help of these stories, your team will understand the change journey and the point of making it. But remember, these stories need to align with a purpose that’s worthwhile from their point of view, not just yours.