Leadership in Action – 4 Steps for Inboarding Your 2021 Strategy

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Inboarding recognizes that Onboarding is not a one-and-done process. Inboarding is the ongoing practice of keeping your team engaged, productive and aligned. As you communicate your strategy for 2021, you want to continue to Connect the Dots with these one-on-one Inboarding conversations. The following four steps provide an opportunity to create alignment and energy around your new strategy.

1. Listen
The value of one-on-one conversations is to listen and clarify, ensuring engagement and alignment. Start the conversation by asking for their understanding of the new strategy and how they see their role contributing to the strategy. Listen for alignment, as well as their interests and novel ideas for strategy implementation.

2. Bridge
Use their understanding of the strategy to create a bridge from what they have been doing to the new expectations for the coming year. Start with the parts of their job that are staying the same but having a stronger focus. Use examples of where they have performed well in this area and let them know that you are shifting to more work like that. Next, deal with parts of the job from the past that may no longer be needed. It is important to recognize how those activities contributed in the past, but with the new strategy they are no longer needed.

Remember, as a leader, one of your key jobs is to ensure that people believe their effort makes a difference, so do not discount the work from the past. Removing old expectations also provides room for the new expectations, especially how their job is expanding. Let them know about these new expectations and your confidence that they can grow into them. Connect the importance of these activities to the execution of the new strategy. In summary, the bridge is a way of communicating what your team member needs to continue doing, what they can stop doing, and what they need to start.

3. Energize
As the bridge creates clarity of expectation, this next part serves to create energy around the expectations. Each of your team members has a different comfort level with change. Your job is to help stretch their comfort zones to create growth, without creating distress. To create the energy, leverage their past success of adopting new approaches, and show that it is “like them” to adapt effectively to new situations. Reinforce the part of the role that is staying the same and the value that brings to the team. Let them know what support they will get in adopting the new expectations. Finish with a strong vision of how their role contributes to the success of the team, and to the overall organization.

4. Listen Again
Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to listen again. Ask for questions, comments or concerns. Ask what excites them most about their role and what they see as success for this upcoming year.

Inboarding your new strategy, through one-on-ones with these four steps, will enable you to Connect the Dots and create energy around your new strategy for all members of your team.