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Communicating strategy – Not just a “one and done”

For most companies, the first of the year is a time to rally the troops – a time to get laser focused on the company’s strategy and a natural time to communicate annual goals and the role individuals, teams and organizations play in bringing that strategy to life.

Sound familiar? I hope so. In fact, I love the sense of systems and renewal within the seasons society has engrained in us. Every January feels like a fresh start – an opportunity to hover up to the ‘big picture’ and set a roadmap for the year ahead.

That said, all too often the “big push” for strategy communications comes early and often in the beginning of the year – the email from the CEO outlining the strategy, the brand-new intranet page with the supporting detail, and the cascading of performance goals and measures throughout the organization.  While these activities are mission-critical for setting the baseline, communicating company strategy is an evolving, engaging, and multi-channeled experience – more like a constant and consistent conversation vs. a “one and done” approach.

Once the strategy is rolled out and the goals are set, it’s about tending the fire and making it real. Along the way, you have to help people see themselves in the strategy – empowering them to contribute to the whole, trusting their intelligence, and highlighting proof points in a consistent and multi-dimensional way.

How? Keep these guiding principles in mind:

Leverage social and mobile to keep the conversation alive. Many companies are moving towards social and mobile-first intranets and applications – allowing instant communication outside the clutter of day-to-day email. Mobile-first applications can also provide leaders and communicators a curated experience (e.g., targeting by role, function or location) and guide them toward parts of a strategy or a conversation that are most relevant for them.

Think in terms of big “C” and little “c” communications. Big “C” communications – the all-hands meetings, the formal organizational announcements – are critical, but they aren’t the only way to communicate strategy. There is real power in the small, day-to-day conversations (i.e., little “c” communications) that help individuals and teams gain understanding and meaning for themselves.

Communicate strategy with an agile approach. This software development approach is based on a few key principles: small teams, iterative and incremental changes, room for experimentation and interpretation, face-to-face communication and quick feedback cycles. Applying this same mindset to strategy communication can give individuals and teams an opportunity to engage with the strategy vs. just being told what it is. Engaging teams in two-way dialogues, holding regular Q&A sessions with leaders and amplifying examples of how individuals or small teams are adding real value can have a powerful effect on how quickly a company can actualize a global strategy.

Communicating strategy can’t be a ‘one and done activity’ – it’s a conversation, a lifestyle, a muscle that must be built with intention and rigor. Here’s to keeping your company’s strategy alive, purposeful and thriving all year long!

 

Caitlin Strauss Corda is a consultant at Blue Beyond Consulting. In her role she helps organizations, teams and leaders thrive in times of change. To connect with her or the Blue Beyond Team, visit www.bluebeyondconsulting.com

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The Future of Mobile Is Now

Happy Summer! We recently returned from Las Vegas for the National Investor Relations Institute’s Annual Conference, Extreme IR. In our third year sponsoring the event, it has become evident that many IROs from across the globe are embracing mobile and incorporating a mobile strategy into their IR programs. However, there are still some that are not clear as to why this is necessary since they already have an IR website containing much of the same information.

As I explained to those who remain in doubt, the two don’t necessarily have to be mutually exclusive. Many of our subscribers have optimized their IR website but still have chosen to have a native app for their investors, especially given the more robust user experience and important functionality like push notifications and the ability to download content for offline viewing/listening (that does not exist in a web app or mobile website).  At its essence, the reason for having a native IR app (in addition to the above functionality differences) is the desire to be forward thinking, to acknowledge that investors are now depending on their mobile device for their work and wanting to bring information to investors in as many ways as possible recognizing that the reward in doing so can be significant.  For many it’s also about understanding where the future of computing is heading.

I encourage you to read my recent blog published on Wired.com – the bottom line is that PC computing, as we know it today; will disappear in the years to come.  Maybe not in the next three years, but by the end of this decade all computing will be about mobile and the Cloud.  What used to work for the operating systems of the PC will be rendered obsolete when all that is left are the operating systems of the mobile device.

To learn more about what I am talking about, I encourage you to participate in an exciting event organized by CommPro.biz on July 16th.  During the webinar – Innovation in Communications: Thinking outside the box to ensure you aren’t standing still as the Industry moves ahead – I will be joined by Brian Cohen, Co-Founder of Launch.it and Chris Penn, VP of Marketing for SHIFT Communications where we will discuss the challenges communications professionals face in their work, including communicating to fragmented audiences, breaking through the clutter in an ‘always on’ society and quantifying the impact of communications programs.  We will debate the future of technology, including social media and mobile technology, and discuss why it is that so many are reluctant to embrace change.  Registration is now open for the event, you can register here. We hope you’ll join us!

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Apple’s Deal with China Mobile Will Be a Game Changer

On Sunday, China Mobile announced a deal with Apple to offer the iPhone to its millions of customers. The Chinese mobile carrier is the world’s largest wireless network operator in the world. The deal marks the first time 759 million people will have access to the iPhone. To put things into perspective, Verizon and AT&T combined have 230 million subscribers. The increase in Apple product sales could be tremendous; the deal could generate $3 billion in revenue for Apple in 2014 alone.

The China Mobile deal is not just a pivotal moment for Apple; it is also a major opportunity for iOS app developers and companies who have apps available in the Apple App store. If tens or even hundreds of millions of new iPhones are sold, the majority of these buyers will utilize the App Store to download and engage with mobile apps.

App downloads will likely see a dramatic increase and the deal will position Apple to dominate the app market. Companies that offer iOS apps (particularly for enterprise and business-to-business apps available on Apple’s Volume Purchase Program store) will have an opportunity to reach a new audience in one of the most important international business markets.

The opportunity Apple has to sell its product to the largest carrier in one of the highest growth markets in the world will bring an endless amount of possibilities. This deal will dramatically expand the current mobile industry and app marketplace.

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