As we start our Strategy Course this week, here are a few simple tips to make your strategies more useful and relevant.
1) Go with the tide. Go with current social and technological trends rather than try to fight against them. Better yet, lead the way in the new trend. Clinging to the old is a sure-fire way to condemn your community to failure.
2) Work within constraints. Constraints are useful. Don’t assume you will get more time or resources. Cost every tactic by the time and budget it requires and ensure it’s feasible. Assume each team member has 20 to 30 hours a week outside of meetings to work on the community. Constraints are your friend.
3) Position the community. A community should offer unique indispensable value to the brand and to its members. If there are other options (especially easier options) the community has no purpose. Your audience research should help you to a position to deliver indispensable value.
4) Ruthlessly prune tactics. Almost all of us are trying to execute too many tactics that don’t move the needle. Try to focus on just doing a handful of things extremely well. Tactics that only impact a small number of members and those which are repetitive from week to week are typically first in line to be culled.
5) Present options. If you want more support, present your strategy at first as a series of options you can pursue and get senior executives to decide which option they prefer. Each should clearly outline the costs and trade-offs. Typically you will be asked to do a combination of options – but fight back against that. It’s best to have a clear strategy you’re all in for.
6) Guide people the entire way. Nothing in the final strategy should be a surprise, it’s the summation of the conversations you’ve guided your colleagues through. This is a collaborative process that requires input from your colleagues at every major juncture.
This isn’t a comprehensive list, but if you can tackle the above you’ll be doing better than most.