Tuesday, 7 February 2017


How To Get Employees To Buy Into A Strategy For A Successful Execution
Ishola Ayodele (Impactful Communications Coach)

Fair process is a method of communicating with employees which inspires their voluntary commitment and cooperation.

Whenever fair process is followed employees feel valued and respected as well as a sense of belonging which makes them to go the extra mile in ensuring the execution of company’s strategy was total and diligently done for a successful outcome.

The theoretical origin of fair process can be traced back to two social scientists: John W. Thibaut and Laurens Walker who in the mid-1970s, combined their interest in the psychology of justice with the study of process, creating the term procedural justice. Focusing their attention on legal settings, they sought to understand what makes people trust a legal system so that they will comply with laws without being coerced. Their research established that people care as much about the justice of the process through which an outcome is produced as they do about the outcome itself. People don't just want justice they want it justly done. People’s satisfaction with the outcome and their commitment to it rose when procedural justice was exercised.

Without fair process employees' compliance to the company's strategy will only lead to mechanical execution. A case where employees just do what they were told to do without any interest in the outcome or willingness to put in extra effort.

Whereas fair process Ignites voluntary cooperation which involves going beyond the call of duty, wherein individuals expend their time, energy and initiative to the best of their abilities—even to the extent of subordinating personal self-interest—
to execute the agreed upon strategies.

Why does the observance or violation of fair process in strategy making have the power to make or break a strateg’s execution?

1. Emotionally,
Individuals seek recognition of their value, not as staff or workers but as humans who deserve to be treated with respect and dignity irrespective of their positions in the company. They want to feel appreciated and their efforts recognized.

2. Intellectually,
 Individuals seek recognition that their ideas are sought after. They feel honoured that you find them intelligent enough to explain your thinking to them.

Organizations that use fair process as means of internal communication will be able to satisfy their employees emotionally and intellectually as it makes them feel respected, appreciated and recognized.

Several studies have shown that recognition of employees has a great impact on their performance. For instance

In Frederick Herzberg’s classic study on motivation, *recognition was found to inspire strong intrinsic motivation*, causing people to do more than they were paid for and voluntarily cooperating with company.

And another study by Aberdeen Group in 2013, found that
*“60% of Best-in-Class organizations stated that employee recognition is extremely valuable in driving individual performance"*(The Power of Employee Recognition)

According to the authors of the best seller ‘Blue Ocean Strategy,’ W. Chan Kim and RenĂ©e May borne (who are the proponents of the "fair process theory), *“fair process builds execution into strategy by creating people’s buy-in up front. When fair process is exercised in the strategy-making process, people trust that a level playing field exists. This inspires them to cooperate voluntarily in executing the resulting strategic decisions”*

In their wonderful book, 'the blue ocean strategy' they explained the three E principles of fair process. Which are  Engagement,
Explanation, and
clarity of Expectation.

Here is an excerpt from the book

1) Engagement:
This means involving individuals in the strategic decisions that affect them by asking for their input and allowing them to refute the merits of one another’s ideas and assumptions. Engagement communicates management’s respect for individuals and their ideas while encouraging refutation which sharpens everyone’s thinking and builds better collective understanding and wisdom.

2) Engagement:
This results in better strategic decisions by management and greater commitment from all involved to execute those decisions.

3) Explanation:
This means that everyone involved and affected should understand why final strategic decisions are made as they are.

An explanation of the thinking that underlies decisions makes people confident that managers have considered their opinions and have
made decisions impartially in the overall interests of the company.

An explanation allows employees to trust managers’ intentions
even if their own ideas have been rejected. It also serves as a powerful feedback loop that enhances learning.

*Expectation clarity* requires that after a strategy is set, managers state clearly the new rules of the game.

Although the expectations
may be demanding, employees should know up front what standards they will be judged by and the penalties for failure.

What are the goals
of the new strategy? What are the new targets and milestones?
Who is responsible for what? To achieve fair process, it matters less
what the new goals, expectations, and responsibilities are and more that they are clearly understood.

When people clearly understand
what is expected of them, political jockeying and favoritism are
minimized, and people can focus on executing the strategy rapidly.

Taken together, these three criteria collectively lead to judgments of fair process. This is important, because any subset of the
three does not create judgments of fair process.

Having a very sound internal communication system that is perceived by employees to be engaging and also recognizing their intelligence will go a long in fostering voluntary cooperation of employees and will also increases the commitment of employees which will significantly improve their performance. The company’s bottom line will be definitely boosted and growth will be rapid.

*"Communication is a continuation of business in another form"* so said Prof. Fred Helio Garcia of New York city University.

Please share your thoughts with me by clicking on the post a comment box below.

Ishola Ayodele is a Public Relations practitioner and a member of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations.

He offers the following services to Large Corporations, SMEs and Individuals.
Result Oriented Communication,
Effective Crisis Communication,
Effectual Political Communication,
Reputation and Image management,
And Impactful Presentation Coaching.
He can be reached on
twitter @ishopr and via
Email: impactfulcommunications@gmail.com

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