I first came across the concept of Commander's Intent reading The Challenger Sale by Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson. In brief, this is the style of leadership adopted by military leaders wherein a clear, concise statement provides guidance for the specific goal a commander is looking to achieve.
Once engaged in battle, plans have to quickly adapt to the environment and situation as rarely will events map out exactly as expected. Military leaders therefore focus on the objective, delegating autonomy and flexibility to those in the field to react according to the scenario with which they are faced.
Whilst I do not necessarily want to draw comparisons between employees and soldiers, this example is particularly relevant for driving advocacy.
When defining your social media policy, you should focus on the outcome, not the activity. Of course, codes of conduct are important, especially around brand guidelines and where legal implications can be involved. However, to get buy-in from across your business it is important that you can clearly communicate the benefits. Having a mission statement that highlights the overall business objectives and is relatable to the individual will have a significant impact when it comes to driving engagement.
Furthermore, encourage the development of ideas and opinions when sharing content. Do not force your colleagues to always share everything because it is "company policy". Give them the freedom to share what is relevant to their audience with commentary that provides context for those they are trying to influence.
3 things to takeaway:
- Define and communicate what the successful mission looks like - especially at an individual level;
- Enable - with both tools and resources - to make the programme a success through ease of compliance;
- Finally, encourage and empower employee initiative, improvisation, and adaptation
Commander’s Intent is the description and definition of what a successful mission will look like. Military planning begins with the Mission Statement that describes the who, what, when, where, and why... Commander’s Intent empowers initiative, improvisation, and adaptation by providing guidance of what a successful conclusion looks like. Commander’s Intent is vital in chaotic, demanding, and dynamic environments.