An essay published by the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania captured our attention: “Overlooking Communication: Why Strategists are Missing a Trick.” It is true in almost every organization we’ve experienced that leaders underestimate how much, and what kind of, communication is needed to move an organization toward a strategic vision.
Authors Mark Leiter and Jeff Pundyk write: “Executives crafting strategy often miss a powerful trick — instead of making communication a top priority throughout the entire strategy development journey, they typically focus on communication only as they approach the final stages of their work.
“This may have worked when things moved slower. With every passing year, however, the available ‘time to decision’ is shrinking while executives are buried in a daily communication avalanche. Cutting through the clutter requires strategic content that is crisp, compelling and inspiring at every point in the strategy process and beyond.”
Many expert communicators I know are fans of the “drumbeat” approach to communication: a steady stream of large and small actions and stories, over time, that help reinforce a consistent idea or theme. The reason drumbeats work so well is because we are all incredibly busy and great at filtering out information. That means the odds that any one message will break through are pretty low. Build up enough pieces of communication in different avenues over time, and the chances improve for getting your target audience to say, “Aha! Something is going on there.”
Today is the official start date of our new consulting practice focused on strategic planning, vision and goal setting, communications, leadership and organizational development for higher education and related institutions. This moment is exciting on many levels. We have enormous respect for each other—the intellect, creativity, and ambitious thinking that has characterized our work both together and as individuals will now directly benefit our clients. Our work with colleges and universities is both inspiring and satisfying. In addition to our expertise in higher education, we partner with a range of organizations that advance the world’s knowledge, including research institutes, foundations, nonprofits, start-ups, and other entities with a related mission. Continue reading →