Guest: Carin Canale

Alignment Takes Effort
Start with a Targeted Communications Plan

In our current, work from home, hybrid world, communications from inside and outside of work are increasingly slowing down people’s productivity. With emails in the hundreds and distractions endless, (WiFi issues, kids learning in the next room, Amazon deliveries, etc.) staying focused takes a herculean effort. And, unintentionally many companies’ communications plans are making it worse!

Mega growth companies have known this for decades. Growing a healthy organization in today’s world, no matter how big or small means being serious about creating and executing a comprehensive communication plan. If you want to accelerate momentum, everyone’s efforts should be in sync with the goals of the organization. This means confirming progress on the strategies that support the goals and consistent communications delivered regularly to all team members working to achieve those goals that include having a specific, regularly reviewed, acted upon, and reported communications strategy.

We asked CEO Carin Canale Theakston, Chief Culture Officer and Principal Strategist for Canale Communications, Inc., about the advice she gives to her life sciences clients. Whether creating a new plan or enhancing your current plan, Carin points out, “It’s critical to regularly confirm that your communications plans and policies are linked to the strategic plan”. Does this really need pointing out? Canale Theakston says, “More often than you’d expect, communications plans don’t get revised or regularly inspected for alignment with the strategic plan.” It just takes one poorly worded email, a flippant remark from a disgruntled employee, or a smear campaign on social media to trigger serious consequences for a corporation’s image. She recommends three must do’s below to identify any areas for improvement!

Align Your Business Objectives.

How do you know if your communications plan isn’t in line with the overall goals and values of your company? Ask the people responsible for the plan to give you updates on the plan and how they are executing for alignment. Listen to their suggestions about how to make it stronger, ways to keep it top of mind, and ideas to keep the communications plan meaningful to the people who live with it daily.

Confirm Who Owns It.

Be specific regarding who is responsible for tasks, who will manage, and who provides input on the communications plan. Typically, it will be your Chief Communications Officer (or whoever works in that capacity) taking ownership and management of the plan on a day-to-day basis. That leader invites input from leaders in all the other disciplines of your organization.

  • For publicly-traded companies, part of your communications plan will be targeted at investors. You will need input from them, CEO or CFO, plus all other key stakeholders. Business leaders sometimes assume that a communications plan should be written by, or for, CEOs and then passed down through the command chain. That approach can backfire because of a lack of information on what’s truly happening on the front lines.
  • For companies that value internal employees or employee recruiting, it’s imperative that Human Resources have a voice in the plan. They will be using and verifying all internal communications protocols day-to-day, as well as having direct insights into how external communications can attract top recruits.
  • If you are selling or producing a product, you should include the people in charge of the product and sales of your organization in the planning. They will have plenty of smart, street intelligence that will make the plan sound and easy to execute.

Is It Working?

A great plan is nothing if it is not being used by all and executed correctly. As CEO, make sure you regularly get reports from your Communications Officer providing examples of the plan being executed as intended. This keeps the plan aligned with the company strategy and allows refinement when necessary.

Listen here to our full podcast with CEO Carin Canale Theakston, Chief Culture Officer and Principal Strategist for Canale Communications, Inc.


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