Goal Setting and Your Communication Strategy

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Goal Setting & Communication Strategy

Creative ideas come naturally to communication teams. They frequently benefit from new ideas shared or handed down from others in their company as well. In fact, idea generation and creative problem solving drive much of their work and value to the organization. The challenge arises when all those great ideas, in addition to their less creative but nonetheless fundamental duties, begin to outweigh their ability to deliver results or their company’s ability to grow. To be honest, you can reach that point quickly too. This is why goal setting needs to become a fundamental element of any successful communication strategy whether you work for a multinational corporation or a company of one.

Can We vs. Should We and the Power of Goal Setting for PR

As a professional public relations and marketing team, you can do anything. As a reporter, I was once on set of a reality television show where they completely demolish and rebuild a new home for a deserving family in the span of a weekend. While touring the set I asked a producer how they could possibly build a home in two-to-three days. Their response has since informed how I approach task management and goal setting in my career. They said you can do anything if you spend enough money and have enough people working on it.

As communication professionals assessing new ideas, projects or campaigns, the question is never whether we can. The real question is whether we should. Should we delay another project to prioritize this new idea? Should we dedicate that portion of our annual budget? Should we redirect staff time from other responsibilities to focus on this new project? The answer may certainly be an enthusiastic yes, but that must be based on an honest assessment of whether the project moves your company toward one of its strategic goals. Time is a finite resource. Someone needs to ask the right question. The alternative is getting stuck on the treadmill and never moving forward.

Focusing on Strategic Initiatives

Goal setting gives your communication team the power to say “no” to projects that undermine or distract from your company’s strategic goals. It also gives you the confidence to say “yes” to the right idea, the grounds to build consensus across teams and the satisfaction of knowing your work is leading the organization in the right direction. For example, have you ever been in a meeting brainstorming ideas and someone says “we should make a video?” I know, we’ve all been there and most of us have been the one to say it at some point. Unless that video project is integrated into your broader communication plans and driven by the company’s strategic goals, though, it can and often does become a time consuming distraction that leaves other strategic initiatives and important next steps gathering cobwebs at the bottom of your to-do list.

When so much of a team’s daily work falls into the realm of tactical execution of projects, it’s especially important to recognize the value of those projects in terms of the larger picture. They need to see how the next series of blog posts, ad campaign, community event or video project contributes to the organization’s mission, vision and where it hopes to be in a year. By understanding that they should focus on strategic initiatives, you and your team will begin to recognize more value from your work each day as well as the impact it makes on your company.

The Impact of Clarity on Your Communication Strategy

Once you shift project ideation toward “should we” vs “can we” conversations and learn to say “no” or at least “not now” to new ideas that distract you from your mission, you’ll recognize other changes as well. Teams will begin to feel a sense of momentum. Thinking strategically by the quarter or year lends itself to better hourly time management and task prioritization by the day. It becomes easier to reevaluate existing and long term projects that were previously taken for granted. Maybe they’ve really been distracting the team for years or now it becomes easier to realize their true value in a new light.

Over time, the new ideas coming from the team become sharper, more focused and designed with strategic end goals from the start. Teams feel more engaged and establishing genuine, enthusiastic buy in on projects becomes easier. This doesn’t happen overnight. Real clarity of focus is a skill that needs to be learned, taught and honed through repeated practice. Established team members need to model the approach for new team members, not just tell them how it’s done. If successful, though, this simple shift in thinking offers the opportunity to drive your communication strategy and your business forward by leaps and bounds.