Simple Rules Drive Message Discipline

Nod your head if you have heard this before: “Everyone knows our Vision, everyone knows our Strategy.”  I was recently in a room where a CEO said this to his leadership team. Heads went down. One person bravely commented that perhaps, “people don’t know how to translate that into what they do every day.” That brave soul captured one of the biggest problems companies face today: Awash in a sea of messages, overwhelmed with conflicting priorities, swimming in oceans of PowerPoint, the average employee cannot repeat the Vision or Strategy of their company. At best you might hear a mangled rendition, or a see a furtive glance towards a laminated card or poster. The likelihood that they act on the strategy is pretty small.

A company has to have a Vision, a “where” that it is going towards.  People in that company have to know and aspire to that dream.  It’s what moves businesses forward. They also need a “how”, which is the Strategy. The map to get them there. The problem is that senior and middle management doesn’t spend enough time translating that throughout the organization. They don’t put people’s jobs into context so that what people do drives towards the vision and enacts the strategy.

This is what Message Discipline does. It translates the vision and strategy of a business through to the front line, giving them the ability to see their job in the bigger picture. Message Discipline drives operational discipline in your business. You have people understanding the “Where” (the vision) and able to act on the “How” (the Strategy).

So what can you do? Look at these sketchnotes from the article, “Strategy as Simple Rules”*

*If you want, you can download a copy from Slideshare

They outline a method to help drive Message Discipline in your business. Translate the business strategy to a set of simple rule that people can follow.

Gavin_Animated-GifGavin is a founding partner at fassforward consulting group. He blogs about PowerPoint, Presenting, Communication and Message Discipline at You can follow him on twitter @powerfulpoint.

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  2. Nancy White | November 15, 2011 at 4:45 pm

    Hi Gavin

    I’d like to riff on the sketchnote above in a different domain and share at some workshops I’m doing later this month in Australia. Would it be OK by you to use the image with your permission and full attribution?



    • Gavin | November 15, 2011 at 7:01 pm

      Nancy, absolutely. I am glad you found it useful. Let me know how it goes…

      • Nancy White | November 15, 2011 at 7:24 pm

        Thanks. I’ve made a note to share the “remix” when I get back (December!)

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  4. printing services | November 23, 2011 at 9:44 pm

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