Don’t be an Ostrich: Why you can’t go head-down on strategic planning
I get it. There are times when our workloads feel like they will never let up.
Whether you are a leasing professional, a marketer, a revenue manager or an executive, our to-do lists are ever growing. And if you are like me, sometimes you add whatever task you just completed that wasn’t on your list so you feel like you finished something that day. Now layer in the ability for people to reach you through more communication channels than ever before (email, Slack, Google Hangouts, text, social media, etc.), it can feel like the only way to actually get any work done is to be an ostrich and put your head down.
While this might work to manage your day-to-day workload on occasion, it shouldn’t be a tactic you deploy when it comes to your overall business goals and processes. Because, frankly, when you are head down ignoring the world, you will miss some great opportunities.
Strategic planning is a vital component in my role as a PR and Marketing account director. It’s the foundation for all our PR programming and it is one thing we never bury our heads on.
Here are some tried and true ways you can be sure your teams are heads-up on their strategic thinking and capturing all opportunities:
- Set Goals and Constantly Re-evaluate Them: More leases, more renewals, more media coverage. Whatever your business goals are be sure to set them, determine how you will achieve them and then re-evaluate them throughout the year.
Let’s use a PR program as an example. At the beginning of the year, you have determined it is really important to build brand awareness within the industry. Awesome – that means thought leadership and trade media placements. Tactics are put in place to drive toward that goal and you are starting to see success.
Now you are a few months into the year and sales aren’t performing as well as you would like. New goal: close more deals. Should you continue focusing on trade media placements? If you partner with a strategic PR firm who stays heads-up on strategic planning they will already have tactics in place to ensure you are reaching the right audience. But had you been head-down and just staying the course on your strategy, you may have missed key opportunities to promote your communities and drive more sales.
- Put Your Heads Together, Brainstorm, Circle the Wagons: Pick your cliché here but ultimately the idea is the same. Tap into your team members. What are they seeing that you may not be thinking about? And take your conversations outside of your department and seek someone whose business expertise is different than your own. How would a revenue manager tackle a marketing problem? You may just be surprised with the insights they have to offer – things that may not have even been on your radar.
More importantly, make this consistent. Consider calendaring a monthly meeting to discuss what people are seeing. But also, don’t be afraid to call an audible. Be open to having one-off conversations if you are really struggling to think strategically.
- Read the News: Make news a priority. And I am not talking about industry news only. Get out of your business bubble and check out what’s happening in consumer technology, in home design, in landscaping, in pop culture and even what’s happening in other countries.
At LTM, we are constantly reading and talking about news. Sometimes it is industry-focused content, sometimes it isn’t. But we are looking at what is happening in the world around us and how we can apply that to the stories we are building for our clients. This is truly one of the most effective strategic exercises we do.
Again, I get it. Jobs are busy. Our workloads are growing on a daily basis. And sometimes it is just easier to tune out the world, go head-down and get stuff done. But remember keeping our heads-up, interacting with and watching the world around us can elicit critical strategic thinking that drives success.