Progress > Perfection


It’s all too easy, when we’re thinking about how to be better strategic communicators, to shrink in dismay at the distance between where we and our organizations are now, on one hand, and where we should be, on the other. Throwing up our hands and adopting a “can’t get there from here” attitude of resignation often looks like the only realistic thing to do in face of the impossible.

Say, for instance, that you’re trying to formulate major objectives for your three-year strategic communications plan, and are having difficulty making your objectives align with your organization’s mission and goals because—surprise!—the executives have never written them down. Or even worse, that they won’t write down corporate objectives because there’s a well-known divergence of views on these matters in the C-suite.

Or, as another example, perhaps you’re aware that one of the top-level strategic functions you’re currently not providing for your organization is public environment analysis. You know that you could add tremendous value by monitoring what’s going on in blogs, in counterpart organizations, among nonprofits and in government. But you’re stretched to the limit just keeping up with the day-to-day demand for communications products, and can’t keep up with the whole world outside your organization’s walls.

It’s at these kinds of moments that I remind myself that the point is to make progress, not achieve perfection. It’s about doing what we can with the resources we have, even if that doesn’t match the ideal. So write the best set of strategic objectives you can today, drawing on what clarity does exist. And accept that even if you can’t do comprehensive public environment monitoring, you can do just one manageable element of it, such as a weekly scan of relevant blogs.

Save your sanity, make incremental progress, get small wins: it’s about progress, not perfection.

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