Communication Strategies, Policies and Processes to Control Messages

Strategy Plan One

May 25, 2012 

communication strategiesCommunication Strategies

Businesses come across difficult scenarios which require careful external and internal communications.  Depending on the severity of the situation, communication strategies, plans, policies and procedures need to be developed for staff and leaders to respond appropriately.

Communication Strategies Plan

Like business and marketing planning, you need to develop a communications plan.  Ensure you have a communication strategies plan which may include:

  • Communication policies
  • Education and development opportunities in communications
  • Process for gathering information from area experts
  • Procedures for approved external communication lines
  • Designation of approved spokespersons within your organization
  • Development of action plans following communications

Communication Policies

Communication policies in your organization will set the rules and help staff get organized around communications needed internally and externally.  These guidelines and rules will illustrate how staff should discuss issues and who can handle communications in the organization.  It will help organize staff in the event that a serious situation arises that requires carefully controlled communications.

If your organization is large enough, your may have policy specialists who may undertake a formal policy development process.  Drafting clear and concise policies will assist in establishing solid guidance and help with a thorough understanding of company policies.

communication strategiesEducation and Learning Opportunities in Communications

It would be advantageous for you as the leader in your organization or your designated communications lead to hold sessions for your staff.  Staff need to be aware of the policies and procedures around communications to ensure situations are handled appropriately.  Learning sessions will keep everyone informed on the proper protocol for communications and staff will be well informed on the “what ifs” that pop up from time to time.

Internal capacity building should include opportunities for staff to build skills in communications, whether those skills are centered on oral or written communications.  Building individual capacities will build organizational capacities – worthy investments.

Gathering Information for your Communication Strategies

As a leader, you should have procedures to delegate some of the responsibility around information gathering to area leads, area experts.  As an executive you may not be the professional at all operational levels… that’s why you hire area experts to inform your decisions.  Have a procedure for circulation of communications to area experts to fill in the appropriate level of detail.  Following through the track of approvers, you and your communication specialists will craft the communications for the audience.

Approved Communication Lines

As part of the policies and procedures, you communications person along with management will approve of the appropriate communication lines that either a spokesperson or communications lead will use.

Approved Spokesperson

Appropriate communications is an art and a professional career.  The organization should have procedures around who in the organization should be talking to the public, external parties or the press.  A dedicated, trained spokesperson would be approved by the organization and would know the appropriate tactics to use to adequately handle the situation with press, ensuring the organization does not get into hot water.  They would be able to temper the press or stakeholders appropriately, taking an inflamed scenario and turning it into a positive one.

Action Plan

Internally your team should be developing an action plan following the release of information.  Depending on what type of message it is and how severe, you can gear up your team to be pro-active.  This preparedness will lessen the blow externally or internally.

Example

An organization has been rumored to lay off several hundred people at one location which would have severe economic impacts for a small town.  This information may have been stretched and fabricated.  The press has been notified and is looking interview the company for more information for their news story.  This could gain the wrong attention for the national corporation and could have a wide-reaching negative impact for the public company.

Communication unit and all management would develop a communications plan around this scenario and ensure that approved communications lines have the corrected information in it.  The organization would then move forward with having the approved communication person who has been trained to handle external pressures, be interviewed by the press and provide the correct information about correct job training programs in place, with no negative employment effects.

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© 2012 Strategy Plan One

Values and Ethics – Integrating Strong Principles into your Organization

Strategy Plan One

May 12, 2012

values and ethicsValues and Ethics

Integrating strong values and ethics into your organization can provide a solid base of principles for you, as a leader, and your staff to follow.

 

 

 

Having a strongly implemented values and ethics code in business provides your operation with a happy and healthier environment and assists with positive impacts and impressions with the public, partners and consumer bases.

Consistent values and ethics in current day practices across private and government sectors include respect, integrity, fairness, transparency, and excellence.  Many of these values are interlinked and as when one demonstrates high scores in one value, strengths in other values usually follow.

Respect

Respect must be highlighted as a core value.  Respect must be demonstrated and practiced on all levels, as people in the organization must be respected, no matter what position, organizational level, or background.  Everyone should be treated with respect and fairness, and must respect that everyone has differing personal values, strengths and qualities.  People in the organization must act and speak with respectful dialogue and should interact with other staff, partners, external stakeholders and customers in a respectful manner.  In upholding respect as a core value, engagement and collaboration can happen more frequently in open environment.

Integrity

In order to deliver honest, truthful services and at the same time undertake high level of ethical standards, an organization must strongly embed integrity into all levels of the organization.  By holding high standards in integrity, the organization and people will gain the highest levels of trust necessary for dealing in the private sector and government.  High integrity leads to high levels of confidence internally with units, team and staff and externally with partners, stakeholders and customers.

Fairness

Fairness must be integrated into operational elements and in practices with the consumer.  Whether we are developing staffing actions or determining decisions, fairness must be upheld as a key factor in decision making process.  As fairness practices build in an organization and is integrated into elements, other values such as integrity and respect improve as well.

Transparency

Transparency is the practice of providing informed truthful information internally and externally.  Strong transparency is demonstrated well you release the information and factors that are behind decision-making.  Transparency at high levels builds up confidence in staff and the organization and leads to higher integrity.

Excellence

Strive for excellence in all aspects of business, from HR practices, to customer service to the sharing of best practices across all employees and operational units.  Excellence should be embedded into the company values, but should also be strongly encouraged to staff as a personal value.

Conflict of Interest

When your own actions (personal or business) potentially constitute an advantage for you, family, friends, colleagues, partners and clients, you may be in what may be perceived or considered a real, measurable material gain.  Policies should be developed and implemented to ensure staff have the ability to at least identify and disclose any potential conflict of interest issues.  There should be mechanisms in place to assess the situation and if needed, excuse the individual from duties, or an activity.  A strong conflict of interest code / policy will build confidence and integrity.

 

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Prepare for Federal Budget Cuts and Changes

Strategy Plan One

February 26, 2012 

Federal Budget CutsFederal Budget Cuts

We have all heard the pre-emptive messages in the media about the upcoming Federal budget cuts, and it doesn’t look pretty.  In addition to the reactions in the world economy and Federal budget cuts, the US Federal election will bring in new economic & business policy change and initiatives.

So how does an entrepreneur prepare for change?  As an initial step, assess the current situation of your business, and any current, relevant policies or initiatives that have an effect on your business.  Under current rules, regulations and initiatives there may be still be an opportunity to take advantage before massive Federal budget cuts or changes comes in.

Potential Economic or Budget Initiatives

Gather as much intelligence you can around upcoming economic or budget initiatives and changes that will have an impact on your business.  You will need to analyze any potential changes and incorporate scenario planning into your core business planning activities.   Be ready to implement your action plan in response with any Federal changes to regulations or tax policies.  Don’t get caught off guard by not completing your own due diligence.

Federal Budget CutsImplementation Plan

Your business should have an implementation plan of action.  Along with strong business planning, be a strong project manager and be ready to implement your plan step-by-step in a timely manner.  If the change will be significant, management of your implementation plan of responses will be extremely important.  The smoother your implementation phase, the less significant impacts your business will experience.

Financial Actions to Federal Budget Cuts

If you know a change will have a significant impact on your financial viability, prepare in advance by bringing in your own budget restraint measures before legislation is in effect.  The budgetary adjustments in advance will lessen the financial pain.

Adjust your sales and marketing plans to generate new revenue streams and tap into new markets prior to big economic changes.  Additional retained earnings may act as a buffer in alleviating the financial challenges.

As the world and local economies continues to experience challenges, activate financial and business changes in advance to be better positioned as an adjusted, economically sustainable business in the new environment.

Strategy Plan One

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Business information, resources and tips for the entrepreneur

© 2012 Strategy Plan One

Success in Hiring Excellent People – Merit Based Approach

Strategy Plan One

February 25, 2012 

Merit based staffing processAs a busy entrepreneur leading and managing a company, you may not and should not be completely dedicated to operational tasks or specialized areas.  If you are expanding there is a need for to find good people and have those individuals lead units.

To find excellent employees for your team, you need to establish strong human resource staffing policies and procedures.  Staffing procedures that are unbiased and objective achieve the best results, with the best people bubbling to the surface.

Merit Based Staffing Process

In this modern era, it is common for human resource management to take a merit based approach, rather than what has been done in the past, such as ad-hoc or word of mouth hiring.  The merit based approach involves the selection of candidates based on pre-determined merit criteria.  Successful candidates must meet the criteria to be awarded the position.  The process is one that is more accountable, more objective and is easy to defend should unsuccessful candidates challenge your hiring practices.

Merit Based Staffing ProcessSome processes develop a number of criteria and establish assessment tools to grade responses to criteria.  Federal governments have moved to establish essential and asset criteria that a candidate must meet.  The essentials are one that must be met, while asset criteria would be the “bonuses” that an applicant would have.

Candidates can be screened in on first meeting the essential criteria, and then screened a second time when matched against asset criteria.  In some cases organizations also add in “best fit” criteria.  A candidate meeting essential and asset criteria, along with other factors, would give maximum flexibility to the hiring manager or human resource specialist.

Merit Based Staffing Assessment Tools

 

Differing assessment tools can be used to screen candidates on your established merit criteria.  Here are some tools to potentially use in your processes:

  • Resumes and cover letters
  • Exams and in-basket exercises
  • Simulations
  • Psychological profiling
  • Leadership competency matching
  • Interviews
  • Reference checks
  • Trial employment

Always remember to develop the process in advance.  Develop strong criteria and the accompanying assessment tools.  Keep track of each individual on their responses.  To make the hiring process more objective, ensure you have more than one member on the hiring selection team, as you will achieve a more global perspective on a candidate.

Human Resource Policies

Ensure your human resource policies include equitable opportunities for employment.  In this modern era, companies need to set a higher standard when it comes to values and ethics and responsibilities to communities.  Ensure emphasis is placed on equitable employment opportunities for men and women, ethnic groups and disabled individuals.  Some of the best mixes of professional teams can be achieved as a result of responsible employment equity policies.

Ensure you human resource policies, including the hiring process, are well documented.  Don’t discriminate or differentiate candidates from the hiring process.  With strong staffing processes and employee representation from all groups, you will have the strongest professional team.

Strategy Plan One

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Business information, resources and tips for the entrepreneur

© 2012 Strategy Plan One

As a Voting Entrepreneur, Help Change the Business Environment!

Strategy Plan One

February 19, 2012 

http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=1708The best way you can assist in developing a favourable business climate would be to vote in parties and politicians who are promoting positive, constructive environments.  Take a look at each candidate’s business and economic agendas and platforms.  How do these potential initiatives work for the entrepreneurs that must live and operate in this environment?  What has been indicated in each platform, such as cut backs, program elimination, business incentives, or tax implications?

 

Each of the parties and politicians will raise and promote their own political agendas with embedded economic and business sections.  Each party will seem to be raising platforms which look reverse to the opposing candidate, calling out the other’s points, while promoting their own.  It can be quite confusing.  Take a good look at each platform and decide what is in your best interest as an entrepreneur, and for the whole economy.

 

Some key policies and platform initiatives you may want to analyze:

 

- Job growth, spending and initiatives

- Business and economic regulations, legislation, red tapehttp://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=2664

- Corporate and personal taxation reductions, new policies and its implication on business

- Debt reduction and its implications on other program spending

- The impacts on other programs, such as healthcare, on the economic initiatives

- Trade policies

- Natural resources economic and business policies and initiatives

- Programs and spending on innovation and technology

- The end of economic stimulus packages and the way forward

 

How does each platform affect you, your business community, your business industry and the economy in general?  You will need to decide as a voter what will make sense and benefit you as an entrepreneur, and depending on which platform is voted in, you will need to determine your path as an entrepreneur.  You can help to successfully change the business climate.

 

Strategy Plan One

© 2012 Strategy Plan One

Business information, resources and tips for the entrepreneur