As we work with our clients to walk a path that works to create a marketing and communications plan, the first level we examine focuses on leadership and culture. Too often, we hear the term the "C-suite" (and we are kind of tired of the term), which we believe really is a code word that serves as an indicator as to whether or not leadership is on board and actively engaged with the effort. Leadership has to be committed if our efforts are to deliver success.
Level one is all about examining the role of leadership and their approach to leadership. For example, does leadership adhere to an adaptive or non-adaptive leadership style? Adaptive leadership is the model that we prefer because it works. If we have more of an authoritative or technical approach to leadership we will encounter challenges and we may never get to the place we want to when building a plan - asking the question of what if we could do anything?
We also discuss culture as part of level one thinking. If leadership is on board and adaptive in its approach - what's the culture like? This is really about helping us all to understand how internal communications strategies and tactics will need to be incorporated as part of the effort. Too often we see organizations looking past the team with a singular focus on external audiences. In most instances if we can get the culture aligned with and excited about the effort we can tap into a powerful built-in marketing channel - your team. They can serve as powerful evangelists and bring more power and authenticity to the effort than any amount of earned, paid or social media can.
To help understand culture, we work with our clients to consider tools like Kolbe, which are really useful in identifying the individual approach each member of the team brings to their work. This understanding often helps us to understand how the team needs information to be shared, or makes clear gaps in the team's skill set that we'll need to address. If we don't actively examine what the culture is capable of we can create a campaign that may be informed by some of the organization's most creative and motivated members - but not embraced by the rest of the team. When we introduce the campaign we'll encounter blank faces and then can find people "pushing away from the table" (aka, We don't like this.) - and that ain't good.
With that said, while leadership and culture examination is essential if we are to be successful in walking the path, we work with a number of partners where that is all that they do - leadership and culture change. We're always happy to make a connection if you think that is where your challenges lie.