What Advice Can You Give for Communicating Complex Strategies to a Diverse Team?


    What Advice Can You Give for Communicating Complex Strategies to a Diverse Team?

    In the intricate dance of corporate strategy, clear communication is key. We sought the wisdom of Partners and Senior Managers, among other experts, to share their single most valuable piece of advice. From utilizing infographics for clarity to simplifying with clear visual narratives, here are five strategies these professionals recommend for effectively conveying complex ideas to your team.

    • Utilize Infographics for Clarity
    • Storytelling with Manageable Components
    • Explain the Big Picture First
    • Relate Strategy Through Storytelling
    • Simplify with Clear Visual Narratives

    Utilize Infographics for Clarity

    When I'm communicating complex strategies to my team, I like to utilize infographics. These visual aids are a great way to break down difficult multi-step processes and the data behind management's decisions. Flowcharts, graphs, and captioned illustrations convey far more than simple spreadsheets, and while you may feel a little silly utilizing the color printer, the resulting images will resonate and be remembered.

    The key to making them work is balance. You want concise copy that includes all relevant steps and stages alongside an easy-to-digest graphic that reinforces and solidifies the information.

    Making effective infographics takes a little extra time, but it's well spent. Workers understand tricky concepts better when they are presented this way, and you'll save effort in the long run because employees leave the strategy meeting ready to get started.

    Travis Hann
    Travis HannPartner, Pender & Howe

    Storytelling with Manageable Components

    One piece of advice for effectively communicating complex strategies to your team is to break down the strategy into clear, manageable components and use storytelling to illustrate key points. Start with a high-level overview, then delve into specific elements, explaining how each part contributes to the overall goal. Use analogies, real-world examples, and visual aids like charts or infographics to make abstract concepts more tangible.

    For example, at Spectup, when we rolled out a new market expansion strategy, I first shared the big-picture vision with the team, emphasizing the benefits and expected outcomes. Then, I broke it down into actionable steps, relating each one to individual roles and responsibilities. I used case studies from similar successful projects to provide context and inspiration. This approach ensured everyone understood the strategy, felt connected to it, and knew exactly how they could contribute, leading to more effective execution and team alignment.

    Niclas Schlopsna
    Niclas SchlopsnaManaging Consultant and CEO, spectup

    Explain the Big Picture First

    When communicating complex strategies to your team, it's important that you first clearly explain the big picture and the 'why.' Your team needs to understand exactly what they're trying to solve or what success looks like before they can understand the smaller, more tactical components of the strategy.

    Once they understand the big picture and the overall result they need to achieve, it's easier for them to comprehend and connect the more tactical pieces of the strategy together. This is especially important when your strategy crosses multiple functions to ensure all functions are working together to accomplish the same goal, rather than working separately on their piece of the overall strategy in their own silos.

    Averie Arnold
    Averie ArnoldSr. Manager, Product Management

    Relate Strategy Through Storytelling

    Use classic storytelling techniques of fiction and non-fiction prose. For example, craft a compelling narrative that relates the strategy to a captivating story or an analogy familiar to the team. This approach helps in making the strategy more relatable and easier to remember. Sports metaphors are a common example of this—and though they can be overused, they are often effective.

    You can also use this technique by sharing case studies or examples of similar strategies that have been successfully implemented in other organizations. Not unsurprisingly, this is why corporate case studies are so widely used in MBA programs: they allow the educator to highlight the challenges faced and how they were overcome, making the strategy more concrete and less abstract to the students.

    By weaving storytelling into your presentation, you can bring your strategy to life and make it more than just abstract ideas and theories.

    Phillip Mandel
    Phillip MandelOwner, Mandel Marketing

    Simplify with Clear Visual Narratives

    To ensure your team comprehends and aligns with complex strategies, break down the information into clear, visual narratives. Using tools like flowcharts, infographics, and visual timelines can make abstract concepts more tangible and easier to grasp.

    For example, when rolling out our latest software update for ControlPort™, we faced the challenge of communicating a multifaceted implementation strategy to our team. We distilled the strategy into a series of visual aids, including a detailed roadmap and infographic summaries. These visuals illustrated each phase of the implementation, the key objectives, and the expected outcomes. As a result, our team quickly understood their roles and responsibilities, and we achieved a seamless execution of the update.

    Kristian Longden
    Kristian LongdenContent Marketing Executive, J&J Global Fulfilment