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Hardly a week goes by without shocking reminders of how important it is for companies to align internal and external audiences with brand, values and organizational strategies.

Think Susan G. Komen Foundation, U.S. troops mistakenly burning the Quran, Penn State, Bank of America fees, Herman Cain, your local (you name it).

Studies indicate that internally only one in five employees understands how their work contributes to an organization’s overall strategic direction. This lack of clarity is exacerbated by a daily bombardment of information, which interrupts focus and impedes innovation. Companies that fail to connect strategy with employees, customers, investors and the public — foreign and domestic — stifle growth and risk backlash or irrelevance.

As brand ambassadors, everyone involved with an organization must fully believe their actions are relevant to the mission.

This includes investors, boards of directors and employees, and extends to customers and vendors, allies and fans. In order to achieve buy-in to the mission, to energize and motivate, organizations must communicate openly and honestly about their strategy.

The five most effective ways to do this are through:

  • Storytelling,
  • Using vivid pictures,
  • Engaging in discussion,
  • Applying strategy in communication and by
  • Walking the talk.

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