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What methods have you employed to get stakeholders optimistic about your strategy?

by Victor Perton

The Centre for Optimism's second web-based survey was entitled "Strategy and Optimism: Through the Pandemic and on to a Brighter Future" and commenced in March 2020.

375 people from at least 250 organisations from 16 countries,  experienced in strategy creation, completed the survey by mid-April.

Our earlier research based on asking strategy experts one-to-one had led us to a view that good strategy relies on optimism.  We waited in anticipation for the results of the on-line survey.

To those who answered yes, to the question "Are your stakeholders optimistic about your strategy?", we asked "What methods have you employed to get stakeholders optimistic about your strategy?"

Here are selected answers:

"We have regularly communicated with stakeholders to tell them how we're helping the community through the pandemic. We have communicated around new services and increased services being offered to meet anticipated need during the pandemic."

"Work together & disseminate the message to stakeholders as part of my regular work & deed."

"We have quizzes with quick feedback loops to assure alignment and precision, and comprehension by all."

"We're all in this together and doing the best that we can. Collaboration is contagious!"

"We involve the entire community and work to develop knowledge and then policies and procedures to enable our program to be effective."

"Widely share our approach with others."

"Weekly updates and zoom meetings. making new plans and using innovation."

"We talk about having a Growth Mindset and use the Roger Martin “Where to Play and How to Win” strategic approach. This keeps things clear and simple so that all employees are externally focussed."

"We try to give people a stake in the strategy by owning product development, client relationships, and the brand, so they feel they can influence outcomes."

“Demonstrate I understand the issues we face and have worked with those best placed to tackle a solution. Make sure they are involved from the beginning in the strategy to make a difference . Give examples of worthwhile outcomes from other projects I have worked on.

“Communicate with an optimistic but realistic manner.

“All forms of communication and seeking buy-in.

“Analysis of the market today and in the future

“Brainstorms to gain buy-in and explain the limitations of negative narratives.

“Broadcast social media. 1:1 phone calls.

“By being enthusiastic

“By sharing the current results of our positive impact and demonstrating what is and what could be achieved by following our strategy.

“calm them down

“Candour.

“Collaborating on making a Video, incorporating the use of Skype, Zoom, WhatsApp, etc.

“Commit to maintaining the best possible service. Tell staff job cuts are the last resort, not a first resort.

“Communicate the strategy and the ways that we can implement that strategy in any conditions - especially now.

“Communicating Advertising through newsletters and posters Surveys.

“communication, listening, listening, listening, understanding, and communication.

“Communication. External validation. Alignment activities to bridge different contributors. Find quick wins and celebrate them.

“Consistent communication informing our stakeholders about our activity and plans, eliciting their contributions.

“Consistent contact - we cannot ignore personal advice/support/direction when people seek guidance. There is a need for understanding leadership when introducing people to new ways of support for those with physical/intellectual/psychological impairments

“Constant communication with our clients via newsletters, updates etc.

“Create an open atmosphere where questions and suggestions are equally important and welcomed.

“Daily contact and reflections on changing landscape/strategy changes

“Distilling the strategy into well-articulated, simple goals and objectives that are plausible and manageable.

“Early engagement and input, keep them informed along the way, present a draft for their feedback and empower them to contribute/set relevant operational components related to them.

“Engagement and buy-in to the strategy being adopted.

“Engagement through the objectives

“Engaging them during strategy creation.

“Enthusiasm is contagious - so attitude is important alongside the credibility of having delivered sustainable returns over time.

“Everyone in our business knows what we stand for, so it is a given.

“Explaining the logic of our strategy and the ways in which they will benefit and create mutual value. We also engage with them to trial the strategy in practice in ways that suit them.

“Facts and communication

“Forward planning. Market intelligence - working out how things are changing and adapting.

“Frequent communication. tell stories of successes

“Full engagement of all relevant stakeholders throughout the strategic process.

“Have the courage to actually create a big enough vision that is worth getting people excited about., but not so big that it is impractical. People must believe in your vision, and then believe that you might just succeed, particularly if you gained that little bit of extra help. You need to be the underdog, people have to think you are going to fail, but you might also just possibly succeed.. if only they were able to help you. Everyone loves the Heroes Journey, and wants to either be or help the hero succeed against what are often seen at the beginning as impossible odds. The trick is in being brave enough to have a compelling enough vision and humble enough to ask for help from everyone you encounter to enable you to collectively achieve it.

“Historical data on economic environments is one way to support the belief in the growth goal for 2020.

“Hours of explanations and clarifications is the only way to make everyone believe in strategy.

“When they understand the goal and believe we can make it, then to be optimistic become a natural thing.

“I am brought into organizations to help them identify purpose, to be more inclusive, to relinquish control and replace it with trust. I use examples, but most effective is activating people into an optimistic mindset with adventurous thinking tools applied to their own issues.

“Including them in the process and involving them in the global collaborations we are working on.

“inclusive planning, cooperative development and engaged actions

“Increasing communication and sharing positive stories.

“Invited people to participate in goal formulation. The event was led and facilitated by an inspiring and experienced speaker.

“Keeping an Optimistic Attitude. Built an 18 Month Business Continuity Plan Keeping in touch as a Team at ( am every morning via Zoom Creating Plans how to delight our Customers Looking for New Markets Keeping in touch with Family and Friends

living life to the full

“Lots of discussion and engagement - constant reference to strategy and exemplars. A commonly used and accepted vocabulary seeking feedback regularly In other words, valuing their views and contributions.

“Meetings and feedback, surveys, productivity measures, engagement.

“Model optimism, recognize achievement, celebrate wins along the way.

“More communication and teaming up remote workers on projects

“Our stakeholders are part of our strategic framework.

“Personal involvement in developing strategies

“Positive dialogue

“Presentations and discussions.

“Presentations and information sessions

“Providing a clear and inspiring strategic vision, focusing communications and engagement activities on clear and positive steps/actions that can be taken now to mobilize all levels of stakeholder towards delivering the vision.

“Providing use cases to describe success Getting them involved in redefining purpose and KRAs and being transparent about COVID-19 planning actions.

“Reached out to all of my clients and suppliers to send them optimistic messages that when this is over, we will be up and running.

“Regular exchanges about objectives and results with clients, supplier and local authorities and associations Also sharing of benefits

“Regular interaction via phone/email

“Research, research and more research. Asking disparate difficult questions to better understand the problem

“Respect, understanding, good humour and dependability re outcomes

“Seminars

“Share a realistic view of the risks and opportunities.

“Share the dream. Paint a colourful picture of the vision. Help them to connect their sense of purpose with what we are setting out to achieve. Connect their efforts with positive outcomes for other people and for future generations.

“Sharing the strategy and the motivation behind the strategy and objectives is always key to engaging stakeholders. People will always respond more to being part of a brighter future than to serving a strategy intended to benefit the strategy giver more than themselves.

“Standing for truth, regardless of being demonized.

“Story-Telling and Data

“Storytelling based on visions of the world in 2030 and beyond

“Storytelling, evidence-based reporting and aspirational thinking.

“Talk & discussion

“Talking and acting positively and practically... and supporting those people who are anxious.

“They are naturally optimistic. It doesn’t require any methods.

“Town Halls, email communication, focused consultations, etc.

“Training together, agreeing the goal is important and working in teams to generate a friendly but competitive spirit.

“Trust - stakeholders trust I am well prepared and that I know where I am leading them - and they can call for support when needed, so communication and trust are key.

“Truth.

“Virtual Meetings

“Walking the talk every day.

“We are encouraging everyone within our team to have buy-in and come up with ideas. We are holding regular sessions for people to provide input and ask questions as things develop.

“We have included them in our planning forums.

“We have regularly communicated with stakeholders to tell them how we’re helping the community through the pandemic. We have communicated around new services and increased services being offered to meet anticipated needs during the pandemic.

“We involve the entire community and work to develop knowledge and then policies and procedures to enable our program to be effective.

“We talk about having a Growth Mindset and use the Roger Martin “Where to Play and How to Win” strategic approach. This keeps things clear and simple and that all employees are externally focussed.

“We try to give people a stake in the strategy by owning product development, client relationships, and the brand, so they feel they can influence outcomes.

“We’re all in this together and doing the best that we can. Collaboration is contagious!

“Weekly updates and zoom meetings. making new pans and using innovation

“What methods have you employed to get stakeholders optimistic about your strategy?

“Widely share our approach with others.

“Work together & disseminate the message to other stakeholders of my regular work & deed.


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