This year’s communication congress 2018 (kk18) in Berlin focussed on courage. kk18 is the leading symposium for German-speaking communicators with some 1.500 participants. We took the challenge to present a case study on change communication for our client RKW. Called the “Strategy Rally”, the initiative supported the company’s new strategy roll-out by making all employees aware of the company’s business mission, the “Why” of the company. We called for dare to challenge your employees.

Barbara Hott and Frieder Pfleghar called for dare to challenge your employees.

Why would this be daring? Because not all managers were convinced that every employee needs to know why his or her company exists at all. Because the Strategy Rally is a gamification approach that requires staying power (three stages over the course of a year). Its immediate benefits are only partially measurable in hard figures. Because it reveals truths that bosses might not want to hear. The attitudes of different managers and employees to the strategy roll-out, for example.

Unusual approach to reactivate employees

But this is precisely why initiatives such as the Strategy Rally can be of such great value. They can be early warning signs for moods that often remain hidden, but which need to be dealt with if the new corporate strategy is to be implemented successfully. At the same time, a playful approach can help to create a feeling of togetherness and common purpose that will form the basis for a new corporate culture.

The reactions to our presentation showed that the launch of a new strategy is usually no problem.  Events, participation formats and information materials attract the necessary attention. It is only one or two years later that problems emerge. When everyone has become tired of “the topic”, without most people knowing exactly what “the topic” is all about.

This is the time when you might have to dare to take an unusual approach to reactivate and challenge your employees. RKW took the courage to start the Strategy Rally, and, as a result, managed among other things to ensure that almost 40 percent of its employees took an interest in sustainability issues. In addition, more than 200 teams also contributed their own ideas for more ecological behaviour at their workplace. All it takes is a bit of courage.