Strategy: why your business stinks without it

Strategic planning in public relations has been a big discussion topic this past week. Yes, developing a strategic plan for your business is essential, but it will only be successful if all levels of the organization are privy to the information. This week in my Strategic PR class, Jim Haynes, adjunct professor at UNT and general PR wizard, told us that the types of companies you don’t want to work for are the ones that keep secrets. Sure, the big boys (and girls) upstairs could write a mind-blowing strategic plan, but what good is it if Bob from Accounting or Marsha from Creative don’t know and understand it?
Ironically, one of the most common reasons why a strategic communications plan fails is, well, poor communication. Just as any marriage counselor would tell you, communication is key. This is just as true for your business as it is for your relationship. You have to be able to share your company goals and vision with employees in a way that makes sense to them. And you need to perform company audits after the plan is implemented to make sure people are understanding and practicing that vision.
Which leads to another reason why strategic plans fail – bad/no evaluation. It does your company no good to say “ready, set, go!” and then bury your head in the sand before you can see the results. Haynes shared with our class that “a company without a good strategic plan is like running a race without a finish line.” If that race represents your company’s success, wouldn’t you want to watch and cheer for your players until they cross the finish line? With evaluation comes adjustment and improvement. If you don’t win the race, you’re obviously going to re-think your training and execution so you can improve before the next race. Okay, I’ll end my racing metaphor there, but you get the point.
Bottom line: not only should your company have a strategic communications plan, it also needs to share that plan with everyone involved, audit the understanding and execution of the plan, and evaluate the plan’s success and if/how it can be improved.
With all of that said, do you know your company’s umbrella statement off the top of your head? I don’t know about you, but I have some Google-ing to do.
Katy Hartwick
2 Responses to “Strategy: why your business stinks without it”
  1. Jewlz says:

    I will say that the CEO of my employer is very good about keeping us "in the loop" about his vision for the company. The mission statement (once I found it, ha!) is simple and concise (which, mission statements ought to be anyways), and I've kind of realized that everything our department does is an act to reinforce that statement.During our planning process for Integrated, Busby was always very clear on the fact that each objective, strategy and tactic supported our mission statement. It was cause for many re-writes, but I think we did a good job.

    • Yes, that was definitely an exhausting process, but the end result was great. I think we often start with a great idea that could be identified as a tactic or strategy, but it’s really important that we get in the mindset of starting at the top with the goal and trickling our way down. I think as entry-level youngin’s, we don’t necessarily think to look at the top right away. In the end, though, that definitely seems to be the best way to go about it all. And good for Pier 1, it sounds like they’re a great company to work for!

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