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Posts Tagged ‘strategy’

Many of my peer-to-peer communication discussions ultimately turn to that age-old question: “What would you do if you had the top communication post – VP of Communications or Chief Comms Officer?” Seems the actions reserved for that first 100 days can make or break anyone, no matter how much experience they have traveling through the bloodstream.

So those first 100 days boils down to a few critical components. PR firm Weber Shandwick published an e-book on this topic a couple of years ago and the info really hit the mark. I’ve summarized some of that content, below, and have included my own thoughts as well as comments from my friends who practice PR and communication every day. I hope this creates more discussion on the topic – so feel free to comment and share your ideas.

The First 100 Days In The Life of a New CCO

  1. Get aligned with the organization’s culture as well as the CEO’s vision, strategy and objectives. How does the CEO communicate? What are his/her expectations? What behaviors are most valued by the executive team? What’s the political landscape?
  2. Get to know your communications team. You’re inheriting a team that has its own expectations, strengths, weaknesses and past successes. You must prepare to adjust your perspectives to fit in with the group, not vice versa. Listen carefully during one-on-ones with each communications staffer and take time to get to know the team as individuals. You can gain their respect by involving them in your planning and learning process. And don’t forget to acknowledge the great work they’re doing.
  3. Get to know the business. Spend time with each business leader. Attend their team meetings and meet individually with each of them. And yes, go to them. Use your interviewing skills to identify their challenges, desires and perceptions about how communication can help their business. These sessions will help you build support for communication across the company. Take copious notes as you have these meetings. You’ll use many of their ideas to create your comms plan.
  4. Talk to key stakeholders and get their opinions on the organization’s reputation. Ask similar questions of reporters, customers, strategic partners, and vendors. What has the company done well? What could we do better? Understanding the nuances from various stakeholders will help you craft a plan that nets results.
  5. Create the foundation of your plan by Day 100. Be proactive with goals, objectives and tactics that you and your team can drive. Don’t wait and let others come to you. There will be plenty of that along the way. Apply what you’ve learned listening to your team, the business leaders and the C-suite. Take the communication wheel or con or rudder, align PR plans with business strategy and your research steer your efforts. (And don’t forget to involve your team in the development of this plan!)
  6. Measure something. Media impressions, interactions with stakeholders, or issues and crisis situations avoided because of proactive engagement. You’ll know the C-level expectations when it comes to metrics and analytics. Include the measurement component in the comms strategy and create an executive summary or dashboard that focuses on results – at a minimum this should roll up once a quarter.

There are many more pieces to this puzzle, but these six steps are the crux of what will help you have a great experience as the chief communications person.  No matter what level you’re at in your career, think about how you would approach the role. Do you and your comms team currently work from a plan that is tied to business strategy? If not, perhaps it’s time to ask why.

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Vote or Die

I recently took time to watch the latest viral video on Funnyordie.com featuring Ron Howard, Andy Griffith and Henry Winkler. These three celebrities who worked with each other on popular sitcoms in the ’60s and ’70s got together for a “get out the vote” kind of message, conveyed brilliantly. I particularly liked how Ron kept up with the hairstyles he wore in both television shows.

You can see the video right here.

The lines of people waiting to vote on Nov. 4 are forecast to be long. I’ll be standing in the queue with hundreds of my neighbors who walk, drive and bike to our polling place at 5:30 p.m. Here are a few tips on making the wait seem less tedious…

  1. Arrive with a flask of whiskey. Offer “a nip” to those around you.
  2. Wear a Richard Nixon Halloween mask. Invite people nearby to come and see your tricky dick.
  3. Ask those in line with you who they intend to vote for and why. No matter the response, in a sarcastic tone of voice say, “Oh that’s a brilliant choice.”
  4. Comment about how the polling place officials likely voted for Abe Lincoln, “back in the day.”
  5. In a very loud voice say, “ACORN volunteers told you to both file an absentee ballot AND vote on election day.”
  6. Commiserate with those in line with you about the lack of food and beverages served at polling places.  Ask if someone in line will hold your place for you while you go to Subway.
  7. Shuffle your feet and mumble how you sure wish you could vote for GW for a third term.
  8. Tape the words, “I AM A HANGING CHAD” on the back of your coat with masking tape. When people ask you about it, act like you had no idea it was on there.
  9. After voting, walk slowly past those still standing in line with a big smile and thrust your thumbs in the air saying, “I feel your pain” over and over.
  10. Tell a polling place official that you left your colostomy bag in the voting booth and need to get back in there to get it. Double over and pretend to be in severe pain while you say this.

There.  Any or all of these tips should help you make the wait seem much more worthwhile. And if that’s not enough for you, keep in mind that voting in this presidential election is probably the most historic vote that you will ever cast in your lifetime.

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