Nowadays, the word ‘strategy’ and all its relatives are bandied about so regularly in office speak that we risk losing touch with the real meaning of the word. People like to talk about ‘developing strategy’, ‘working strategically’, ‘sticking to the business strategy’, yet they often miss some essential components that make strategy effective in practice. By undertaking a strategy planning course you can quickly develop your strategic thinking skills.
The word ‘strategy’ is primarily a military word derived from Ancient Greek – strategos meaning ‘leader or commander of an army’. In modern context, strategy refers to a plan of action that maps out how different engagements will be linked to achieve goals; it is distinct from tactics (how the battles themselves are fought). In a business context this meaning should hold true. Accordingly, our approach follows some fundamental rules that will help you plan effective communications strategy (or any strategy) for your organisation.
1. Research: know your battles
How can you plan if you don’t know what you’re dealing with? Do the necessary research to understand the current circumstances of your organisation’s communications. There must be a sound base of knowledge to form opinions and set direction.
2. Define the goal
Be very clear about the goal: define how the destination looks, smells, tastes, sounds and works. What is the dream? If you can’t see it, you can’t hope to get your army on-board.
3. Clarify purpose
What’s your cause? Revisit your organisation’s Mission, Vision, Values and Ethics. These elements should underpin any strategic plan. A communications strategy must align meaningfully with the organisation, or the plan will be ineffective in practice.
4. Engage your army
All staff – from top to bottom – need to be on-board with your strategy. Linking staff performance plans to the strategic plan can be an effective way to achieve this.
5. Celebrate victories
Triumph is a great motivator that can help build morale, so successes should be celebrated. Also acknowledge failings: this might mean publicly saying it didn’t work (whether that’s via internal staff newsletter, blog, news conference, etc.), explaining why, and outlining solutions. However, move on quickly to the next phase to maintain momentum.
6. Be adaptable
Strategy will rarely be successful if it’s not adaptable. Put careful thought into making your strategic plan resilient by including checkpoints that allow you to make adjustments according to your ongoing assessment of influencing factors.
7. Strategy in action – a battle-worn edition is best
Strategy is no use if it’s not put in motion on the ground. Plans often begin with grand ideas and good intent, they sometimes get as far as the binding machine, and then they sit on someone’s desk, untouched. A great strategy has to be a working strategy – the document should be a well-loved thing that is read and referred to many times. To achieve this, write in plain English, get to the point, and paint a clear picture. If you can’t do this for the official version, create a simple version that everyone can read and understand.
These strategy fundamentals can be applied across departments and divisions – they are as relevant tocommunications strategy planning as they are to planning an overall business strategy.
Does your organisation have an effective communications strategy? We offer a range of services to help you plan, build, and execute relevant and powerful communications strategies; Click here to get in touch with our team today.
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