With strategic planning season already in full swing, we checked in with our Kademy coaches to see if they had any tips for Communications leaders putting together strategic plans and budgets while facing the rollercoaster of uncertainty that will likely stick with us for at least part of 2022. Check out their short list of must-do’s, may-do’s, and don’ts on strategic planning and budgeting below as you reflect on your own progress.
|Must Do’s||May Do’s||Don’ts!|
|Assemble your support team early: Who will inform your strategic plan with their data, insights, experience and connections?||Bring a relevant team member (just one) with you to critical planning conversations so that they can jump in with greater detail when asked and allow you to focus on the big picture.||Don’t build your strategic plan alone. Your team not only has critical information to share but also benefits from the opportunity to participate.|
|Connect your communications priorities and projects to business priorities and needs. Which business priorities can communications meaningfully impact?||Talk to your business partners, collaborators, and other stakeholders. Start these conversations at least a month ahead to respect their time and concerns – and be responsive to their varying receptivity for making strategic connections.||Don’t go beyond communications in your planning. Double check each potential project with the question: Does this project aim for a do, feel or know communications objective?|
|Establish a connection and build a relationship with your organisation’s strategy group. They can keep you in the know about what’s on the horizon and where appropriate, bring you into the conversations early.||Get familiar with your company’s planning continuum. The annual strategic plan is likely just one of many planning outputs that should inform your work.||Don’t personally take on the job of managing the shared strategic planning calendar for the leadership team. The task is not aligned with your role or expertise and creates a headache of scheduling work.|
|Support your communications priorities with data. Be comfortable distinguishing projects based on where you are certain and where you’ll need to wait and see.||Gather your sourcing data and documentation across the year, using external benchmarks for reassurance but not as a substitute for internal data and experiences.||Don’t leave data holes or use bogus statistics that will sabotage your plan. Sometimes planning for small pilots can help balance the need for more information with the need for concrete plans now if your leaders are open to it.|
|Match the depth of your presentation to the needs of your audience. For sharing your plans with leaders especially, stick to the top-line insight without getting buried in the details.||Keep your presentation simple and succinct, especially if that’s what the organisation expects and wants. Two slides are often more powerful than 10.||Don’t ask for more budget on more projects than you can do in the given timeframe, especially if you have a small team. Projects rarely end up requiring less work than we anticipate at the outset.|
Last but not least, our coaches warned against tucking strategic plans away in the virtual desk drawer after getting their approval. Instead, embed your plan into your monthly team meeting agendas to keep it top-of-mind, frequently compare the vision to the reality, and gather informative data and insights the whole year long that can be used to inform the next year’s plan.
Want to talk more about strategic planning and budgeting? So do we – we’re planning a Leader Roundtable on this topic and would love your input. Get in touch to find out more.