I’m building a 20th century career in the 21st century
I’ve always been fascinated by those who are seemingly “in the right place at the right time” and what the story is behind those moments
When people hear strategy and strategic thinking/planning there is a certain amount of fear/misunderstanding Some people say they just don’t have time or interest in strategy and so I ask a simple question – can you see the big picture? If so what do you see? Depending on the structure of your organization, some leaders can’t escape what Steven Covey calls the “whirlwind” of seemingly urgent things which may or not be important – they are consumed by email and meetings so their ability to do important things which are not urgent is vastly diminished
If your organization depends on engineers, they will tell you that strategy is not in their DNA – they are minutia focused with purpose – the details, the problem solving is what you want them doing but the degree to which they contribute to the organization’s outputs mean that they need to be involved in the process. You work with them, you know them so you can relate.
And now for the Audience Participation portion of the show
What is your story and where do you tell it? Do people understand what you do? Do you take every opportunity to practice what you preach – Controlled vocabulary, clear message, repetition, SEO – findability. Example – LinkedIn “Headline”
What you say matters if you want to retain your position and eventually advance
Put yourself in the right place at the right time.
Align your strengths with the needs of your organization
I have spoken previously about the spark that ignites an idea which eventually turns into a concept – presentation
This is the article and reference that started me thinking about the ideas covered in this talk, I really liked the model they presented because it looked at more than just the planning and talked about the thinking process. Another good one is “Design Thinking” but we will save that for a future conference presentation.
This is the model presented in the article and Horray! There’s a visual.
Research first – you must do your homework. Good news, you are (or should be) doing this
If we distill that statement we get this which of course I would like to visualize it (and also make it understandable for engineers) so you get this:
This simplification also shows you that this investment of work will result in a WIN! There has to be some cake (reward) at the end
Can you go back and forth between your left and right brain?
Where do you sit in your org structure? Are the silos still there? Are there still permissions required to share/play outside your organizational box – think sandbox and sharing from kindergarden
So like I said, there’s homework. You aren’t going to do this tomorrow unless you are checking off some serious boxes as we move thru this material.
So if you are in professional communication or documentation or content strategy, you are inside of the organization and possibly further within a group/team and that organization doesn’t exist in a vacuum so let’s look at it like this…
I see myself (and possibly you) at the center of the inner circle – that represents you within your team/unit structure – within the company/organization – that’s the triangle.
Now that you’ve done your homework, you can make that change – innovate
Our office needed to update our website – front and back end. This represented a serious investment of time, money effort. Planning to do this moved the content authoring from a programmer/coder to the SME using our faux CMS. That was going to involve some serious changes to the SME’s responsibilities. This content would require review and oversight along with some structure. We approached it advocating for the user/reader/customer – what do they need and how can we best deliver it?
So for the purpose of this presentation I am equating innovation with change – this is deliberate because you most likely are not engineering the innovation, you are going to have to deal with the change that the innovation will bring to your company. Without thinking about the change and its effect on the company, there will be trouble. Don’t have a change management plan, this seems like a good place to start in growing your ability to think strategically and add value to your organization.
Every organization/team/unit needs to plan. These five are what I consider the bare-bones, least you can do to get the benefits strategic planning
Become a Strategic Communicator
David L. Caruso, MAPW
Intro and overview
•Why are we here?
•Strategic thinking –
what is it and why should you care.
Can you see the big picture?
•How do you feel at work?
•How do your coworkers view your role?
•“I feel underappreciated.”
•“If I could only find a project where I could
Your goal internal monologue should be…
“I solve problems”
“I add value”
“I improve quality”
“I make my role critical”
What is Strategic Thinking?
Strategic Thinking is a planning process that
applies innovation, strategic planning and
operational planning to develop business
strategies that have a greater chance for
What is Strategic Thinking?
strategic planning and
Why is Strategic Thinking Important?
•It fits squarely within
Who/what are your current research inputs?
•Internal = employees
•External = customers and the competition
•How do you get the information you
C B inputs – how do
your customers tell you
what they need?
B C outputs – how do
you tell your customers
what you are offering
C C ? – You do know
your customers could be
talking to each other
about you, right?
E B inputs – how do
your employees tell you
what they need?
B E outputs – how does
your org tell their
employees what they
need to know?
E E ? – You do know
employees gossip about
the company, right?
Who are the market
leaders in your
What is your source
for industry best
Who do you
•Mission Statement – highest level of this
process, should happen for organization and
for “mission critical” sub-units (branches,
teams, centers etc.)
•May be a good first step but revisit at the
end to make sure it is still relevant
Vision = “We believe…”
A vision statement should answer the question
“What do we believe?”
Vision Statement Example - Apple
Apple’s current (2015) vision statement was introduced by
CEO Tim Cook, who stated:
“We believe that we are on the face of the
earth to make great products and that’s not
changing…We believe in the simple not the
complex. We believe in saying no to
thousands of projects, so that we can really
focus on the few that are truly important
and meaningful to us… http://panmore.com/apple-mission-statement-
Wait, what did he say?
“We believe in
saying no to
projects, so that we
can really focus on
the few that are
truly important and
meaningful to us…”
• SMART in construction
• Should fit within the context of
higher levels and written in the
(mission and vision)
• Funding and Staffing are the
• Try to dig deeper…what is in
the way of making the goals
• Are there admin or engineering
approaches to closing these
•Action plans – how are you going to do the
things you said you wanted to do in your
• How will you know when you’ve achieved your
goals? If so…[what]? If not…[what]?
*This may top my list for most hated business jargon!
• Initial spark article
• Covey’s Time Management
• Randy Pausch’s Time
Management Lecture to UVA
• Linchpin: Are You
Indispensable? By Seth Godin
• Developing Your Organizational
Power and Influence – Andrea
Ames LavaCon Keynote 2015