I found a comms strategy I worked on back in Scotland recently and it made me realize how much I love them. I love the security of planning your work then working your plan, and knowing how the sometimes abstract work of comms fits into the overall goals of the group.
They all work out differently, and the process of doing them is as unique as the people involved. But the ones that work all have a few things in common.
Here’s one, with identifying features removed, the basic theory is that (working up from the bottom) if you communicate the outputs via the channels to the audiences you will achieve the outcomes.
As the title suggests comms strategies are just one part of an overall strategy, your org needs to know where it’s going, what it wants and how it’s going to get it and from whom. A big ask for some groups.
Every strategy I’ve worked on and every board, external advisor and CEO has had different language and approaches for the strategy specifics. I’ve worked within timelines, horizons and waymarkers. And achieved goals, objectives and outcomes with actions, tactics and even once implementables.
Working through those specifics gives me such a good insight into the teams and leaders of orgs that I would suggest the meetings might make good televised content for adding to glassdoor.com. From deep disconnects to just not having the ability to make a decision doing a strategy doc really tells you a lot about the people in charge.
But the things that the ones that have worked have all had in common are buy-in, follow-through and looking back.
I’ve been frustrated trying to get leaders to look at a strategy they asked me to create and moreso trying to get them to look at it a quarter later so I can show them how we’re going. The best experience was a CEO calling me late one night because they wanted clarification on a plan I submitted weeks before.
That one worked well and we did good work. I like to keep them on my wall just behind my monitor so they are always visible.