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Category: Strategic Communications Planning

Why do most communication strategies fail?

Posted by on Wednesday, April 15, 2015 - no comments

As a strategic communications junkie, one of the saddest realities to face is that most communications strategies fail. Yes, you read that correctly. The majority of communications strategies fail, because they never get implemented. Overwhelmingly, the reason is simple: the strategy was written as a document, rather than being the result of an appropriate process…

The Communicator in the Driver’s Seat

Posted by on Wednesday, March 25, 2015 - no comments

Some communicators are unhappy seeing communications as a business enabler and support function to their organization. Perhaps they feel that the art of messaging is so verbal, creative or different from everything else an organization does that it’s something else altogether. Whatever the rationale, this attitude is factually misguided and professionally unhelpful. The essential truth…

The Change Leader’s Tradeoff

Posted by on Wednesday, March 11, 2015 - no comments

You’re probably familiar with the classic saying in business: “You can have it fast, cheap, or good. Pick two.” An interesting parallel to this idea exists in the field of change management. Change leaders are regularly faced with having to make a trade-off between two valued attributes of transformation: speed and buy-in. While in a…

Messaging, the Unsung Hero of Communications

Posted by on Wednesday, February 25, 2015 - no comments

Organizations tend to invest relatively significant amounts of time, effort and money on communication vehicles (such as websites, brochures, and annual reports) with relatively little focus on the core product of those vehicles – messages. This leads to rather unsatisfying messages, most often seen as a laundry list of “Key Messages” that a spokesperson may…

Employee Communications and Engagement 2.0

Posted by on Wednesday, January 28, 2015 - no comments

Today’s digital tools provide us with unparalleled opportunities to connect and engage with employees in creative and meaningful ways. We now have the potential and opportunity to drive organizational performance by providing relevant content and establishing a one-to-one communication experience – even in large, multinational organizations. This is crucial since engagement is an individual experience…

Outside-in Thinking

Posted by on Wednesday, January 21, 2015 - no comments

Top-flight strategic communicators bring what I call ‘outside-in’ thinking to their organizations. That is, the ability and instinct to see how an issue, initiative or activity will play out among audiences and stakeholders. To bring outside-in thinking to your organization, become the advocate for your audience by using the following: Prime your insight by reading…

The Change Agent’s Dilemma: Planning in a World that Keeps Changing

Posted by on Wednesday, January 14, 2015 - 2 comments

For the last dozen years, I’ve devoted my career to strategic communications planning, having developed and applied the Results Map methodology in the field. I’ve had the opportunity to work on hundreds of strategic plans – large and small, for the public and private sectors, all focused on aligning internal and external communications to organizational…

What does it mean to think strategically?

Posted by on Wednesday, January 7, 2015 - no comments

Thinking strategically takes discipline, clarity and quite frankly, guts. It may stretch you beyond your comfort zone. Often, it requires challenging the familiar status quo by driving conversations beyond a tactical level toward broader outcomes and results. The trick to thinking strategically is to cultivate the habit of having a laser like focus on outcomes…

Asking the Right Questions

Posted by on Wednesday, December 17, 2014 - no comments

Here are the questions I recommend as arsenal for every strategic communicator heading into a tough meeting or assignment: What does success look like? Why this, why now? What are the project or corporate objectives? What are the communications objectives? How can effective communications help advance the project objective? What are the main risks/opportunities? Thinking…

Stakeholder Mapping: Understanding Your Audiences’ Natural Habitat

Posted by on Wednesday, December 3, 2014 - no comments

One of the most powerful shifts you can make to sharpen the focus and impact of your communications activities is in how you think about audiences. Traditionally, in a communications plan, you’ll see a list of audiences presented in a linear fashion. Very often, it looks like a massive laundry list of everyone we might…