How to Avoid Having Your Strategic Plan Lost in Translation (2of3)
I’m on a series about how strategic planning “can get lost in translation”.
More importantly, what you can do to avoid this outcome, and instead
find all the hard work put into strategic planning paying off in terms of
follow through and results.
In the first blog I wrote about the need to think sales when presenting a
strategic plan to others. Instead of thinking of it as information, approach
the presentation of your strategic plan with a sales approach,
emphasizing pain points, needs, outcomes and benefits, and recognize
that different personalities key off of different questions when in the
The second way strategy get’s lost in translation, is that the plan is
presented in format or style that typically makes sense to the creators,
but less so (sometimes much less so) to the audience… because
they function with a different cognitive orientation to the world.
I often see plans that are filled with conceptual terms which don’t tie
into day-to-day realities for most of the staff expected to carry out the
plan. Terminology or word choice, as well as the level a plan is
written, are both examples of easy ways to fail at translating
your strategic plan in a way that makes sense and is executable to others.
But let’s dig deeper. Imagine that different personality types
pay attention to very different things, and that in order to get
their attention, you need to speak to what’s of interest to them.�
If that doesn’t make sense, just think of it as needing to speak
a different language for different personalities.
One of my favorite ways to make sure I speak the language of my
audience is to make sure I address the issues relevant to a quadrant
of personality types I’ve developed over the years. Partly it’s based
on the Myers-Briggs type, partly on brain research, and partly on
years of consulting.
Click the image to expand for easier reading and you’ll see that
there’s four orientations. Each represents a cognitive structure for
looking at the world. Notice that each are emphasizing
different data points when dealing with their world.
If you can speak to each, you immediately translate your
strategic plan into language and even better, an action plan,
that they resonate with and best understand. Some people
get going when they understand the opportunity, some the
overall logic and efficiency, some the specific steps, what
to do and not, and others when they understand how it
takes care of them and others.
To avoid losing your strategic plan in translation, make sure
you communicate your plan in a manner that addresses
the questions and orientation common to four personality