Coming home…to strategy


A bit over a year ago, when I moved out of corporate work and launched a practice of my own, the aim was to fulfill a dream.

I had long believed in the power of small groups of people to make a big difference in the organizations where they work, and in the communities where they live.  And I have long been enthusiastic about tools and approaches for finding out who those people are and connecting them into “networks behind the networks,” with extraordinary power, influence and interest.

So, for some months, I focused on educating the market about how identifying these “influencers” is the smartest, fastest and most cost effective way to communicate strategically.

I got a bit of interest, a bit of project work, and a number of people to ask me to do other things closer to my better-known specialty of copywriting and strategic messaging.

Nevertheless, I persisted. 

Until, when writing a guest blog for my friends at Headlines in the UK, it dawned on me that the most pressing opportunity doesn’t involve focusing on the most strategic possible way to communicate (which is how I see the Influencer approach).

It involves embracing and sharing the power of communication strategy much more broadly to help drive results and performance, as a practitioner, and in supporting practitioners and clients to rediscover communication strategy as a source of real advantage.

And in internal communication, strategy has really taken a beating in recent years.

The pressures to “engage everyone,” to drive “eyeball measurements” like gross page views and subscription numbers, have made it more difficult to sell approaches that get the right information to the right people, and support them in having the right conversations.

Happy-snappy, dumbed-down writing, video for video’s sake, the persistence of all-employee box-ticking exercises and the indulgence of “survey fatigue” that keeps critical questions unasked and unaskable, are also formidable obstacles to truly strategic communication inside the corporate firewall.

But the opportunities available to use targeted, intelligent approaches to getting the right people talking with the right information, and inside the right contexts, remain plentiful and exciting. More broadly, it’s what I do, how I write, and what I advocate.

So, it’s time to come home.

To the broader mission of strategy in the world of internal communication.

I’m on it. And if you are interested in a conversation, I’d like to hear from you. Ping me.

2 thoughts on “Coming home…to strategy”

  1. I recall a conversation with my then boss about the purpose of the comms function. We landed on Connection: connection of people with information, people with ideas, people with opportunities and people with people. Your comments beg a refinement of that purpose to “the right connection”. In this time poor information overloaded world of ours – synthesis and selective sharing to help ensure the connections made are valuable ones – plays a vital role. I look forward to seeing where you take this Mike…


  2. I think we are thinking about the same thing, having started from different places. In my case, I usually start from the problem of defining an organisation’s external comms strategy, but soon find myself ‘swimming upstream’ to align the client’s internal comms/collaboration, knowledge management, training and employee engagement processes. This can generate painful turf wars, so the approach I’ve landed on is to reframe all of these processes (incl. external communications) as an Innovation Programme, as set out here: https://medium.com/@mathewlowry/reframe-your-communications-strategy-as-part-of-your-innovation-programme-to-sidestep-internal-2fcc695ecaa4 . I’d love your thoughts on this.


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