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How do you develop alignment & buy-in?

Have you ever felt like everyone in your organization is working on their own projects and initiatives, and moving towards their own vision and goals? If everyone is moving in their own direction without working towards a common vision or future state, your strategic plan is at risk of not being implemented.

Misaligned teams also encounter issues with miscommunication, clarity, and accountability. If people aren’t aligned and bought into where they’re going, why they’re going there, and how they’re going to get there, they will ultimately be moving in different directions with their own agendas. 


This article will break down how to align your strategy with: 


Our recommendation is to foster alignment and buy-in on a regular basis, and especially before and during the strategic planning process. Whether you’re developing your first strategic plan or starting your next planning cycle, it’s critical to get your leaders and teams on the same page. 


Aligning Strategy with Senior Leaders & Team Members 

There are several ways to begin to foster alignment and buy-in with your senior leaders and/or team members leading strategy initiatives. Some include: 


  • Before the planning begins:

Communicate clearly, and early on in the planning process so that everyone has a chance to process what is happening, and to ask any questions they might have. This can reduce the fear of unknowns and change.


    • During the planning sessions:
Understand that everyone has a different idea of what success looks like, and their own motivations that may or may not align with your organization.

This way, you’ll also be able to spot links and commonalities with the organizational vision, 

mission, and objectives.

Take the time to develop two-way communication with your leaders and key team members so that you can better understand their motivations.


  • After the planning sessions: 

Make sure that there are clear takeaways from your strategy meetings, and that everyone understands and is accountable for the areas they’ve committed to driving forward.

Additionally, make sure that each department or team member has the resources they need to be able to successfully implement their piece of the plan. Without this, they may become frustrated or disengaged. 


Aligning Strategy with Other Key Stakeholders

There are ways to foster alignment and buy-in with your key stakeholders (such as board members, volunteers, and frontline staff) without bringing them into the strategy development conversations. Some include:


  • Before the planning begins:

Communicate with your stakeholders to let them know that you will be developing a strategic plan. Let them know that you value their input, and open up the lines of communication through activities such as surveys, town halls or stakeholder engagement meetings.


  • After the planning sessions:

Share your completed plan, including your mission, vision, values, strategic priorities, and goals throughout your organization.

If it’s not proprietary, you may want to make it publicly available to your external stakeholders as well. Share this information in different formats, such as documentation, emails, intranet or website updates, or presentations, and be repetitive.

It’s also a great opportunity to hold another town hall or stakeholder engagement meeting to address any questions or concerns they may have about the completed plan and it’s upcoming implementation. 


Next Steps:

Whether you are leading the strategic planning process yourself or having the session(s) facilitated, think about who will be involved and get them included in the planning process early on. 


If you have an upcoming strategy session, learn more about how SME Strategy works to foster alignment throughout the entire strategic planning process.


If you’re interested in leading the vision and mission exercises yourself, our How to Create a Strategic Plan course will guide you through each step of the process:


Or, book a call to find out more about working with a facilitator to guide your team through developing your aligned strategic plan: