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Strategy, strategy and strategic: the difference and why it matters

BY mikeklein strategy

Strategy is one of the most misunderstood words when it comes to Internal Communication. Partially, that’s because there are three seemingly related terms which mean different things.

My focus is on “using communication strategy” to help achieve desired outcomes by focusing the right activities on the right people.

In contrast, “communicating strategy” has to do with “communicating the company strategy to all employees,” usually on an indiscriminate basis.

Another take, “being a strategic communicator”, does not actively involve the use of communication strategy, but has simply become a term describing a presentably professional communication pro, as spelled out in this piece by IC publisher and author Katie Macaulay.

Why is this distinction important?

These terms sound very similar. They are all commonly used by IC folk, and that lends itself to confusion and muddle. But if the value of internal communication is to be rejuvenated through greater use of communication strategy, it can’t be left to be confused with “communicating strategy” or “being a strategic communicator.”

Indeed, using communication strategy to refine priorities, target messages and sharpen delivery often runs counter to the traditional thinking embedded in “communicating the company strategy” equally to everybody. Use of communication strategy to define “guerrilla” or fit-for-purpose solutions may override the polished professionalism necessary to be Katie Macaulay’s “strategic communicator.”

But for communicators who want to have an impact on delivering better results, reducing overload, and making better use of the time, money and staff attention we commandeer, using communication strategy instead of inundating everyone can deliver the ninja advantagee.  And being able to make your intentions clear to those who matter is a critical step.

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