New Year’s Day provides a marker for many people. Resolutions abound, involving everything from diet and exercise to securing a new job.
I suppose it’s only natural that turning the page to a new calendar augers a fresh start. However, I’ve long viewed Labor Day as a more realistic time for reassessment, certainly on a professional level.
Rounding the Final Bend
How can you take this post-summer time period to build momentum for your communications efforts that will last the remainder of the year and beyond? Begin with a review of your company’s communications plan. You do evaluate it regularly, don’t’ you? If not, September is the perfect time to start.
Remember, any worthwhile plan begins with strategy. There will be plenty of time to match up tactics once your plan is refined, but never start by spitballing tactical possibilities. How you execute your plan depends on your goals.
As part of this process, take a renewed look at the resources you have at your disposal. The biggest element here is your spokespeople. Start with your CEO. Does she need more polish in a certain area, be it an ability to grasp and deliver a message or the need to sharpen an imperfect verbal or nonverbal habit? On a philosophical level, do you need to get more buy-in from her with regard to your communications or public policy efforts? No time like the present to hammer away at those fundamental matters.
Firming Up Relations with Your C-suite
As your next after Labor Day activity, examine your C-suite leaders. Have you shaped them into a team that is eager to deliver your messages in support of your business and public policy objectives? Do they turn to you for advice in your area of expertise? If those ties are already strong, congratulations; use the post-Labor Day period to solidify those bonds. If squabbling exists, you’d best do something about it right away. Approach your champions in the C-suite and encourage them to help persuade their cohorts about the value you deliver and why it is important to the business. You could also turn to external executives they respect, using them to deliver your message.
Don’t ignore your vice presidents, directors, managers, and front line workers. Some of them no doubt serve as spokespeople on certain issues. Perhaps it’s time for an autumn skills refresher for them. Contact your communications strategy consultant to arrange a series of professional development workshops that can enhance their talents over the long run. If there are a couple of individuals who require specialized attention, reach out to your consultant for a program tailored specifically for them.
Of course, you’ll also want to add in those random duties. These might include getting a hit on that high profile media interview you’ve been pursuing for weeks or arranging that big speech by your CMO before your trade association.
Here’s My Plan
What does my professional life look like after Labor Day? Here are a few of the things on my plate.
I continue to prepare for publication of my next book, A+ Strategies for C-Suite Communications: Turning Today’s Leaders into Tomorrow’s Influencers. My final draft will be ready for the copy editor the Friday after Labor Day. With most of the writing and editing done, I’ve been turning most of my attention to the publication and marketing aspects.
The mechanics involve such steps as working with designers, the copy editor, and an indexer. And I’ll be lining up my distribution channels for both print and ebooks (yes, Virginia, there is more than Amazon to consider).
On the marketing side, I’ll conduct a more concentrated outreach to colleagues I know and respect, asking for their help in spreading news of the book. Some I’ll ask for advice about such matters as venues for author appearances and article placements. Others I’ll approach for online reviews once the book is published. Still others will be asked to tout the book within their circles or to request that their company’s library or their local public libraries purchase copies.
Although much of my energy has been dedicated to authorship, other business responsibilities remain. I’ll be contacting clients and potential clients to solidify plans for their upcoming projects dealing with communications strategy, media training, Congressional testimony preparation, and presentation skills.
Right after Labor Day (September 6, to be precise) I’m leading a discussion before an ASAE (American Society of Association Executives) idea swap. The subject? “The Role of Communications in Your Association’s Professional Development Program.” I really enjoy speaking before groups like this, so am looking forward to the conversation.
Why not chime in with your plans for a big fall kickoff? You may well have lessons that others here in the C-suite Blueprint community can use.