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Strategic what?

Sometimes we need to be reminded that people outside of our own little life bubbles might not understand what we do, what we say, and the jargon that we often take for granted.

One of the things we do a lot of is provide strategic advice. I mentioned this recently to someone and they immediately fired back and asked “What’s that?” This was a good reminder that not everyone will know and we shouldn’t take it for granted that everyone will.

I explained it as follows, the ‘strategic’ part is simply referring to a strategy – and strategy simply means a thought out plan. So you take what you want to achieve as your starting point, think of this in the context of your audience and start tying this together with your messages.

Of course, you need to throw in risk management, opposition analysis, and ability to deliver. From here, it’s simply down to planning the steps of getting from your current starting point to the end destination.

As the old saying goes, unless you know your end destination and plan how to get there, how will you know when you arrive?

Iain McMenemy


I was delighted to return to Charles River Laboratories this December to speak with staff there, this time on Collaboration.

We all collaborate on a great many things, numerous times throughout the day. But like everything else, when it is structured and organised with a purpose and deliverable outcome, then it will bear most fruit.

Iain McMenemy

Stakeholder Mapping

We all think we know who our key contacts or ‘stakeholders’ are, but do others in your organisation agree? Is everyone on the same page as regards how strong those connections might be? Most importantly, do we have an engagement plan that sets out where the right resources might be applied to keep stakeholders engaged?

Most businesses or organisations that we come across don’t have a formal stakeholder engagement plan, nor have they carried out any stakeholder mapping.

We’d recommend that you do. By understanding who you are dealing with, how receptive they might be, who is the best person to maintain the relationship, and what they want from you is crucial to know before you do anything else.

It’s quick and easy to do, and very much worth it.

Channel selection

Channel selection – this is a fancy phrase for the choice you need to make in determining the way you are going to get you message out there.

Channels could be your twitter feed, email, written letter, phone call, or face to face meetings, to name but a few.

But make sure you choose wisely. Choose the channel that matched your audience. In other words, if they don’t read the local newspaper, then don’t use that as your channel to tell them your news.

One particularly extreme example of a poor channel choice was in an article I read recently. Company X as I will call them, decided to layoff 400 workers by email with no prior notice or warning.

Incredibly poor choice of channel, deeply insensitive, and it also creates further issues for Company X. As they are a business that is still trading, their reputation amongst their own employees is at rock bottom. Claims that they clearly don’t care about their staff are hard to defend.

They could have handled it very differently and showed more compassion.

Iain McMenemy

No comment just won’t do

Having just watched some news coverage of the latest indictments in the US political saga, I’m again seeing a number of people walking through the melee of reporters while whispering the words ‘no comment’.

This approach is rarely wise.  A conversation is a two-way street.  When you talk to someone, you expect an answer.  When you don’t get one, it jolts the brain, and tells you something isn’t right, or someone is being evasive.  It is the same when someone stays stony silent or gives the response ‘no comment’.  It just transmits a sense of negativity to the people watching.

Even if you simply say, ‘we’ll be issuing a statement shortly’, that at least is a normal interaction and is providing the recipient with some information whilst keeping the conversation going… at least in part.