You’ve almost certainly received dozens of flyers or emails selling you on books, workshops and webinars on ‘How to Be Strategic’. The word is used so often that we’ve lost track of what it means. You might think it’s nothing but another bit of corporate-speak tossed around to make things sound fancier.
But something real and important is at stake in this word. Here’s what you need to remember: adopting a strategic state of mind means directing a systematic plan of action toward a specific result. It’s about looking at the big picture—what outcomes you’re trying to achieve—alongside all the detailed tactics that might be taken to get there. This is the state of mind that makes communications activities truly work in the service of larger corporate goals.
As you already know, it’s no piece of cake being a strategic communications thinker. It may demand stretching beyond your comfort zones—for instance, into the sphere of evaluation and measurement (since you’re thinking strategically only when you can specify what results you’re targeting and how you’ll assess whether those outcomes have been achieved.) And it often calls for challenging the familiar status quo by driving conversations beyond the tactical level toward broader outcomes and results.
In short, thinking strategically calls for discipline, clarity and guts. And it pays off in spades.