(feel free to retweet that)
Just as a map is essential to navigating the seas, a communications strategy provides direction to your day-to-day communications.
A captain would never even think about sailing a great distance without a map (or GPS), yet every day thousands of organizations set out without a plan.
I believe there are at least four reasons. Let’s call them…
4 Common Barriers to Developing a Good Communications Strategy
1) Aimlessness – If you don’t know where you’re going, there’s not much reason or motivation to create a plan to get there, right?
Solution: Pull out your organization’s mission statement. What is the vision? Close your eyes and imagine what that looks like. Your communications should be aligned with your organization’s vision and mission. Imagine what your communications will looks like when your organization’s vision is realized. That’s where you’re going. Write it down. (Note you may want to do this with your team of people. And unless you’re the head honcho you’ll need to get your boss’s approval.)
2) Busyness – Seems like everyone is living at mach 5 these days. There’s always a deadline to meet. And if you’re blogging or using social media, there’s always more people to engage with. Many communicators feel like their work is never done. They just don’t have the time to work on a communications strategy.
Plus strategic thinking is hard work. While I enjoy it, there are times when it makes my head hurt and other times I just don’t have the mental energy for it. It’s easy to keep putting it off.
Solution: Schedule a block of time for strategic thinking. Make sure it’s in the part of the day when you have the most energy. Somehow we manage to block out time for meetings, evaluations, lunch and vacation. It’s a matter of choice.
3) Fear – When you have no plan, nobody can criticize your plan. And when you have no plan, no one can anyone hold you accountable for failing to implement or follow the plan. It’s easier that way, isn’t it? Yes, but it’s also a leadership failure and a sure path to ineffective communications.
Solution: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
4) Ignorance – If you’ve never developed a communications strategy, you may not know how important it is. Or you may not know how to create one.
Solution: Keep reading this blog. 😉 I say that half joking. The solution is to find resources and people who can teach you about communications strategies – how-to guides, examples, webinars, books, conferences, coaches and consultants.
While I won’t be providing all those formats, I will provide as much insight and as many examples as possible in this series and answer your questions in the comments.
Plus my hope is the results from the Communications Strategy Survey will inspire other people to develop strategic communications planning resources. If you haven’t done so yet, please take 2 minutes to…
If your organization doesn’t have a good written communications strategy, what is your biggest barrier?