Social Business

Why is strategy so hard to get down on paper?

I’ve had “Write social business strategy” on my to do list for some time, and like any good procrastinator, massive distractee and general purveyor of being useful to everyone, it’s only just managed to happen.

It’s good to get all the strands of my thinking about where we go as a social business, and what my/our priorities should be, onto paper. Now, I just need to get everyone bought into it and get on with the delivering the darn thing. But why has it taken me so long?  Excuses brewing…


Primarily, there’s been the not inconsiderable core activity of getting on with the tactical elements of the job – and we’ve had a lot to do both on a day-to-day tactical activity, developing and delivering training content, helping customers and managing our online reputation etc. I’m also a deeply routed people pleaser, which means I tend to say yes to everything because it’s the easier option.  All that day-to-day social stuff excludes all the other elements of being in a comms teams – we’ve done a change programme, a series of employee roadshows and major leadership event during 2017 which absorbs time and energy.

#Management takes time

After our last set of changes, I inherited a great team of creative content and channels folks which we’ve been working on a whole bunch of things. Being a manager takes time and it appears from the last set of feedback, that I’m doing reasonably ok at that. As ever, it’s great to get feedback on how your team thinks you’re doing as a manager and I’d encourage anyone to look at any form of 360 degree feedback process. At Zurich, we have a programme that looks at 8 things that make a great manager. My team think I’m doing better than I think I’m doing in 6 of those areas. (One for another blog perhaps…)

#Need a business strategy first

Anyway, back to the excuses… (see below about distraction and focus…) One leader I met last year from another firm, said to me that he didn’t need to have a social media strategy, he needed a business strategy that he could then work to. Well, to a point.. but I think that sunk in, as we’re only just getting the wider business strategy nailed so it’s been on the “when we have that we can move on..” list. And with that, the communications plan and strategy around it so. As excuses go that’s the one that washes the best…

#I’m a doer

But more fundamentally, I’m a doer – bit of a classic ESTJ (Myers Brigs), or Yellow/green (insights). My core strengths probably mean I’m less of a thinker or perhaps more specifically, a strategic thinker. It’s a skillset I’m developing as I’ve always recognised that I’m a doer and have flourished off it. But that means other less-doing stuff gets moved lower on the list. And that’s not very strategic is it!?


Why I was wrong!


The strategy doc clearly sets out my focus areas which will move the needle.  Who knew!?! I need that focus! Badly! Think I’m probably in a “do lots, poorly” place at the moment (forever? .. discuss!) rather than a “few things really well” place which I could easily be.

#Exec and company buy in

With a strategy doc, I can get buy in. We need buy in from across the business and an acceptance that being a social business needs to happen and I need to be the one leading it. Which it does, and I am!

#Saying no

Having a strat doc that everyone agrees to also then allows me to say “no” to stuff that doesn’t fit. Wonder how many of you have said no to things lately? Bloody hard eh! (See above about being a people pleaser!)


By not being focussed and working to a strategy that everyone agrees with I’m wary that my stock has possibly fallen. “What is he doing” I can almost hear people thinking…


By being focussed and having an agreed strategy, you can deliver the thing, measure the thing, and be rated/judged on the thing. Without it, you put your fate/career in the hands of others views and perceptions. And I think I’d rather be in control of my own destiny.


Thanks for reading. What do you procrastinate over? What gets moved to the bottom of your list? Have you overcome your avoidance of strategy?  How? Let me know in the comments.

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