As a technology leader, you face more than your fair share of challenges as you lead your organization’s technology strategy. I’m going to take the opportunity this month to throw another challenge your way. Are you effectively communicating your technology strategy to your team?

Part of my role with ASUG Executive Exchange is to talk to the executive and senior leadership community members. Listening to your stories and how you’re solving technology and business challenges allows me to stay focused on the pulse of the community to drive our content plans. Frankly, it’s one of the most enjoyable parts of what I do.

In 2024, I am working to expand this to include a broader cross-section of the ASUG membership. I’ve been able to talk to several non-executives this year, and one surprising thing continues to surface in those conversations. There's a good chance that your technology team does not understand your technology strategy.

Whether or not you have a formal IT strategy (separate topic for another day), you have some overarching ideas about where and how you want the IT function in your organization to progress. The disconnect I’ve been hearing is that those who are supposed to bring that technology vision to reality sometimes do not know a) what that vision is and b) what their role is in delivering it. To paraphrase a comment from someone I spoke to at a recent ASUG Chapter meeting, “I don’t know what we are doing with S/4HANA; those conversations are taking place in fancier offices than mine.”

David Grossman said it well in an article on LinkedIn about strategic plans. “’s just another document until it is shared and activated through your employees” (emphasis added by me).

There is plenty of literature on effectively communicating your strategy, so I’ll leave you to Google some light reading in your spare time. What I will do, however, is point out a key element from many of those articles that is clearly missing at the company I referenced above—whatever the strategy is at that company, they have failed to make it personal for the team.

In other words, leadership has not created a way for staff to align their work with the overall strategy. If leadership had effectively communicated the “why” and helped show what was in it for the individual (good or bad), I suspect I would have gotten a much different answer than the “not my job” answer I heard.

Rather than re-hash all the ways to communicate your strategy effectively (ask ChatGPT?), I’m going to challenge you to test whether you are already doing a good job or not. Talk to your people and have them communicate your strategy back to you. Better yet, have your direct reports ask their teams for similar feedback. Are the answers just a repeat of the catchphrases from the last all-hands meeting, or has the team embraced your strategy? Are they providing feedback demonstrating how they are a part of the strategy? Do they understand how the strategy’s success and their success in implementing it are interrelated?

If you’re hearing echo chamber responses, then it’s unlikely that your vision will become a reality. Instead, you will get some mixture of status quo, luck, and reactions to internal and external forces that may or may not lead to “innovation,” “transformation,” or any of those other buzzwords you are expected to deliver to your organization.

I used to tell my team that we needed to focus less on splashing and more on swimming. Make sure that your team knows the purpose behind your strategy and is swimming towards the goal, not just splashing around it.

Here are a few other updates for this month:

  • SAP Sapphire & ASUG Annual Conference is right around the corner, and registration for the ASUG Executive Exchange Summit in Orlando is days away from opening. We have a great agenda planned, and I can now shed some light on the evening activity. We will take all of the session attendees out for dinner and drinks at what promises to be an exciting venue at one of the Orlando amusement parks. Registration for the content sessions and the evening social event are free, but you do have to be an ASUG Executive Exchange Member to attend.
  • This month’s addition to the ASUG Executive Briefing library addresses the confusion around the end of mainstream maintenance for SAP ECC. Kristen Scheffler and VerNeil Mesecher from SAP joined me to explain all the options to help clarify when you can expect changes to your support relationship with SAP.
  • I also want to send out a special thank you to VerNeil following his announcement that he’s retiring from SAP. VerNeil has greatly supported ASUG and our communities and brought incredible value to our membership. Thank you for everything you have done for ASUG and the community, and I wish you all the best in the future!

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