We all know that paying attention to the old adage, “Ready, aim, fire,” makes a whole lot more sense than “Fire, fire, fire.” Yet, day-to-day, in this environment of instant message delivery, a seeming need for instant message response and, yes, instant decision making, we seem to often “fire” with little consideration for “ready” or “aim.”
And, too often, working in this “fire, fire, fire” environment is frustrating, inefficient and less than effective.
The answer to this “fire” environment is strategic thinking and strategic planning, the “ready” and “aim” that should precede “fire.”
Strategic planning, according to George Steiner in his book, “Strategic Planning,” provides “guidance, direction and boundaries for operational management (tactics).”
Strategy is, according to Jim Lukaszewski, a state of mind. To a point, I agree with this thought. In order to behave strategically, one must have the mindset and intention of thinking strategically.
Thinking out the guidance, direction and boundaries — in our case, mission, goals, objectives, audiences, messages — that influence a tactical activity or initiative is the “ready” part of our three-step action process. Putting activities and tactics into a plan driven by guidance, direction and boundaries is the “aim” portion of the process. The activities and tactics become the “fire.”
The purpose of a seminar on strategic communication planning and action is to help participants recognize the value of preceding tactics with strategy; to walk participants through both a strategic thinking process and a strategic planning process; and to convince participants that despite an environment of instant action and reaction, strategy is the ingredient that helps eliminate frustration, inefficiency and ineffectiveness.
By Peter Hollister, APR, Fellow PRSA, CPRC, is principal and counsel of Hollister, Trubow, and Associates, a firm he co-founded in 1986. His areas of specialization are strategic planning, organizational and board development, communications research and communications effectiveness studies (audits).
Join Hollister for his seminar, “Strategic Communication Planning and Action: Learn How to Set Priorities, Be Proactive and Improve Your Business Relationships,” on Friday, May 15, 2009, in San Francisco, CA!