A leader communicating a strong strategic narrative to engaged employees

Strategic Narrative Consulting & Development

Uniting your people around a common purpose and direction is essential to strong employee engagement. Most organisations are adept at ensuring their employees know what they have to do, and how to do it. Instilling a clear conviction of why – at all levels in the organisation – is harder.

Facilitated by expert cultural change consultants, our strategic narrative consulting workshop provides the space you need to create a compelling, authentic and empowering strategic narrative. We equip you with the knowledge, tools and support you need to create, communicate and live your organisation’s authentic strategic narrative.

At a Glance

  • Strategic narrative workshop – typically 1 to 3 days – delivered by expert culture change consultants.
  • Typically run with a cohort of 12 – 24 people – this can be senior & middle leadership or a diagonal slice through the organisation.
  • Delivered at your work premises or at a venue you choose – throughout the UK and globally
  • Post-workshop support in finalising and communicating your strategic narrative.
  • Designed to be offered alongside the OCAID Safety Culture Survey, although may also be offered stand-alone.

What we do & why

Our Strategic Narrative Consulting & Development service consists of the following:

Step 1: Design Phase

Each engagement is unique; we start by getting to grips with where you are as an organisation and tailor our workshop and support services to maximise our impact.

If you have already participated in our Safety Culture Survey & Assessment, great! – we’ll already have a good idea of what you need.

Step 2: Strategic Narrative Workshop

During our consultant-facilitated strategic narrative workshop (typically between 1 and 3 days) participants explore views on authentic current and desired future states.

We then provide some background theory on narrative & safety culture development, including the six critical elements of a good strategic narrative, so the storyboarding of a phased journey can be developed in real time.

The narrative should stimulate people to examine and consider the alignment of what they say & do on a daily basis, and even their beliefs, whilst permitting plans to evolve within a consistent long-term story.

Once developed we support participants in their own personal delivery of the narrative and identify opportunities to reference it in their day-to-day interactions with staff, customers and suppliers. This means the narrative is given every opportunity to be ‘lived’ through words and deeds.

Step 3: Communications Plan

The strategic narrative workshop may be supplemented by the creation of a full communications plan, either as part of the workshop or as a separate event.

Step 4: Organisational Development Plan

We also provide you with an organisational development plan, detailing suggested interventions needed to bridge the gap between current and desired states. There are normally three strands to this:

  • Systems (e.g. appraisal, incident reporting, recruitment process)
  • Individual development (e.g. leadership training, safety champion training)
  • Improvement programmes

Why? A strong strategic narrative is one of the four strands of employee engagement that the UK government supported think tank, Engage for Success, identified as essential for staff engagement. In turn, we know that the level of employee engagement is a key predictor of both low incident rates and high productivity.

The four strands of engagement, with Strategic Narrative weaving together the other three strands (Caring Managers, Esteemed Employees and Organisational Integrity)

In the RyderMarsh OCAID model of engagement above, Strategic Narrative weaves together the other three essential strands of employee engagement (Caring Managers, Esteemed Employees and Organisational Integrity). The function of a strategic narrative is to create a context for change, linking together and making sense of multiple initiatives.

Who is our Strategic Narrative Consulting for?

Our strategic narrative consulting is suitable for any organisation that is grappling with:

  • Ambiguity of purpose amongst leaders and employees
  • Misalignment of the organisation’s objectives with what people say and do on a daily basis.
  • Lack of engagement
  • Disconnected stakeholders

As organisational development people, we approach strategic narrative development from a wider perspective than some. We’re happy to work with organisations that have previously attempted the creation of a strategic narrative and struggled to make it ‘stick’.

What’s in it for you?

An authentic, empowering and compelling strategic narrative will kindle a passion in your employees’ hearts. They’ll have a clear vision of why they’re doing what they’re doing and how this is contributing to the organisation’s futureand their own.

It is pertinent to the organisation because it will support the business in better decision making, increased productivity, reduced injury rates, enhanced leadership and improved employee engagement.

Immediate

  • Enhanced understanding of company values and vision.
  • Clarity of pupose regarding company vision
  • Focussed daily alignment – “Is what I’m doing now moving the narrative forward? If not – why am I doing it?”

Intermediate

  • More effective decision making
  • Additional safe working behaviours
  • Reduced injury rates
  • Enhanced leadership at all staff levels
  • Empowered and engaged workforce

Underlying

  • Increased productivity
  • Improved bottom line
  • Induced high performing and human focused safety culture
  • Overall higher quality business improvement

Strategic Narrative Consulting & Development: Deliverables

Each engagement is tailored to the individual organisation and will include the following:

  • Strategic narrative workshop, typically between 1-3 days (can be non-consecutive days). The objective of the workshop is:
    • The agreement of a draft strategic narrative that has been developed collectively by workshop participants.
    • Optionally, the production of a full communications plan detailing how your narrative will be communicated and ‘lived’.
  • Post-workshop support in finalising your strategic narrative
  • An organisational development plan, detailing suggested interventions needed to bridge the gap between you identified current and desired states.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is a strategic narrative so important to employee engagement?

We know from neuroscience that our brains are prediction machines; although they like a little bit of novelty, they are more comfortable when they have a sense of what to expect. Organisations that have a clear story, and that have spent time communicating this narrative, have more engaged employees. This is because having a clear story about where the organisation is headed enables our brains to predict.

Neuroscience also supports the need for a clear line of sight between us and the purpose of the company. Not only does line of sight give us clarity, it also provides a sense of being valued and of status because our work matters and makes a difference. Feeling valued puts our brains into a positive mindset.

In the development and the delivery of a strategic narrative, there is strength in people seeing leadership unity. Once developed and communicated, the narrative will both bring people together in common cause whilst also giving people their own personal connection.

Can you write our strategic narrative for us?

No! Ownership is really important when it comes to your strategic narrative. That’s why we deliver a strategic narrative workshop, rather than a strategic narrative writing service. You and your people know your business, and are best placed to – with support – create your journey going forwards.

Who should attend the strategic narrative workshop?

This depends somewhat on your organisation and the maturity of your safety culture. Whilst we can run a workshop exclusively with your Senior Leadership Team, it can be hugely beneficial to take a diagonal cross section through the organisation. It’ll make nailing your ‘authentic current state’ easier and the involvement of employees from all levels of the organisation means the narrative can be ‘socialised’ as well as ‘sold’.

Our senior leaders are busy people; can this be done in smaller modules?

Yes! We recognise that getting senior leaders in a room together for a whole day or more can be challenging and we are happy to break the workshop down into smaller modules where needed.

Holding the workshop over full consecutive days undoubtedly brings momentum to the project, but on the flip side, a more modular approach does allow room for reflection in between sessions.

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