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How to get internal teams aligned with a new company strategy

New company strategies are exciting. Your leadership team spent months discussing it. You did research. You created a plan. This strategy is going to take this company to the next level, you can feel it. The electricity among the leadership team is palpable. Then you present the strategy to the wider organization, expecting them to share your excitement. The response is … crickets. Despite the explanations, despite the research or the data, the team just isn’t buying in.

Sound familiar? It’s incredibly difficult to roll out a new strategy. It takes time and a concerted effort. After your leadership team has developed the vision and strategy, the next step is to create a communication plan that clearly and consistently expresses the new strategic messaging.

Earn buy-in with a communication plan

An essential part of that communication plan should be expressing the emotional excitement of the new initiative. You as a leader are excited because you spent months involved in the planning and (hopefully) truly believe that this new strategy will take your organization to new heights. That’s why you made this decision!

Unfortunately, your team wasn’t in the room for months of meetings. They don’t know all the paths followed and abandoned to come to this point. That makes it difficult to express the excitement and earn buy-in from the team, which is required to motivate team members to make a change, take risks, or creatively problem solve.

Of course, you could hand off the minutes from each meeting that led to the new strategy’s development, or force them to be in months of meetings but that wouldn’t transfer the positive energy anyway. While presentations of the upcoming changes and new decisions must be part of your communication plan, you also should consider how to get emotional buy-in. There is one way to shortcut your way into your team’s emotional core: video.

Why video should be part of your internal communication plan

A good video expresses emotions better than any other form of communication. It hits a viewer’s sense of sight and sound at the same time. (Umault does not recommend licking videos to increase number of senses hit.) No other forms of media are able to get that double whammy like video. Video creates an immersive experience for the viewer.

An immersive experience means that a video can target a person’s emotional core much more effectively than any other media. Think about a climactic movie or TV scene. A great scene has beautiful visuals paired with strong dialogue and emotional music. The combination of visuals and sound are greater than the sum of their parts. That music swell really does make the viewer feel more invested. If you aren't convinced, watch a clip of a movie with the music removed.

It’s disorienting. It’s boring. It feels wrong. Those elements need to play together. And when they do, it’s magical.

The type of video you show matters

You can harness this power to get the emotional buy-in you need from your team on new strategies or initiatives. The key to reaching your team on an emotional level is to tell a story. Ideally, this story is true and from within your organization. For most new initiatives or strategies, your leadership team can probably think of a moment that someone made a difference because of this initiative.

For example, let's say you run a health care company that wants to stress the importance of putting patients at the center of all decisions made. The traditional, easy video answer is to film your CEO telling the organization that we focus on patients now.

(PSA: An interview with your CEO is not more interesting or emotionally engaging than a presentation just because someone filmed it and added b-roll of a person writing on a whiteboard.)

Instead, think about a time when someone at your company went above and beyond for a patient. Maybe they volunteered to come in over a weekend to accommodate a patient's busy schedule, or someone distracted a scared child with a tone-deaf rendition of "Let It Go." These true stories, when told well, inspire the audience to see the impact of this initiative.

Why do videos like this work? Because it makes the audience feel something. After you watch that video, you want to do something nice for patients. The video never needs to say “You should care about patients!” It doesn’t have to. The message is clearly conveyed through the story.

Use video to enhance company events

The effectiveness of a video like that is compounded when you show it live. Company town halls or quarterly meetings are great for this. It’s true that emotions are contagious. We've all noticed how much more we laugh out loud when watching a comedy with a group than alone. Watching an inspirational video as a group will leave people feeling more inspired than if they watch a video sent in a mass email — which, let’s be honest, how many people will click to watch anyway?

After using the video to kick off your event, if possible, the rest of the meeting should communicate the nitty-gritty details of the new strategy, and remind everyone in the organization how they play a role in the strategy's success. Remember, the video doesn't need to include all the information about the strategy that you want to share with your team. The video is supported by the rest of the messages in the town hall. Other presentations should share goals and targets, and then celebrate those wins as they occur. Reinforce the changes regularly with follow-up communication and meetings.

Getting buy-in from your team on a new strategy takes time and a dedicated communication plan. While that plan needs to include all the details and benefits of this new strategy, people are rarely inspired by charts and graphs. When you use video to kick off a new strategy, you jump over needing months of convincing the team of the logic of a proposal. Show an effective 90 second video and you can get straight to their heart.





Picture of Guy bauer, founder of umault

Guy has been making commercial videos for over 20 years and is the author of “Death to the Corporate Video: A Modern Approach that Works.” He started the agency in 2010 after a decade of working in TV, film and radio. He’s been losing hair and gaining weight ever since.

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