I think all of us at least once in our careers have come across those large PowerPoint strategy decks with endless boxes, value chains, diagrams and explanations. And I would make an educated guess that many of us have read through entire 200-page strategies, sat back, scratched our heads, and thought, “is it me or is there really no strategy here?”
Has the art of strategy been lost? Does anyone really know where their organizational ship is heading?
And what do you do, as the communications lead, to ensure your communication’s strategy fits with the organization’s strategy, even if it is not clear or is either in transition?
I came across this situation with an organization I advised. After pouring over endless PowerPoint’s – current and past – I realized quite quickly that there really was no “there” there. I opted to create a strategy for the communications division using the organizational direction I received verbally from the CEO and leadership team to ensure it would fit with the current, perceived needs of the organization.
A gamble? Somewhat, but it is your job as the communications lead to take the pulse of the organization at any moment and to be able to ascertain what the needs will be in the future even for an organization in flux, reorganization, or just unsure of its future.
Phases like this are common and happen periodically throughout an organization’s lifespan. Your job is not to panic, but to remain calm and help the ship reach its destination safely without the crew threatening mutiny – or at least your crew from threatening mutiny.
Create a strategy for your communications division even in the absence of one for your organization. Deeply involve your staff in the formation of the strategy and ensure that your team meetings revolve around the objectives and goals outlined within. Staff thrives with direction and structure – provide that.
Involve leadership in the creation of your strategy. Meet individually with your leadership team and as a whole. Ensure there is buy-in for what you are proposing and that it ultimately defines success for your team.
Message your strategic goals. Repeat these goals to senior leadership and to your staff so that everyone is clear where you and your division are heading. Consistently remind them.
For more advice on creating a communications strategy during times of change, please visit: www.coylecomms.com/toolkit