Online Community Strategy

Responding To Changes

In any change there are elements of the strategic plan you need to abandon and elements you need to keep. Change brings as many opportunities as it does challenges.

Below you can see means of responding to each of the possible changes.

New corporate or departmental strategy This is usually a change in goals. This changes what you do but not the resources you have to do it. You still have the same amount of time and resources to allocate. This usually means a focus on new products, new audiences, or reduction in costs.

  • Keep your current resource analysis and team skill/passion analysis.
  • Proactively identify the new goal; don’t wait for it to trickle down (because those making decisions might preemptively decide the community doesn’t match the new goal).
  • Lobby on behalf of the community (this is an opportunity).
  • Work rapidly to establish new objectives for the community (and work down from there).
Change in senior stakeholders This usually means changing the objectives or working to get them approved again. The goal might remain the same, but senior executives might have new ideas about the behavior that would help them achieve that goal.

  • Identify, negotiate, and agree reasonable objectives.
  • Don’t let objectives be set too high to achieve.
  • Don’t let objectives be set too low to be valuable.
  • Reallocate resources in favor of the new objectives (and work down).
Change in line manager (boss) Strategy If your boss (or a direct line manager) is changed or replaced, you might need to change your strategy. At the very least, you will need the strategy signed off again. You will need your boss’ approval to use the resources in this way.

  • Provide your boss with opportunities to add input into the strategy.
  • Get new strategy signed off. Pay specific attention to getting the resources signed off.
  • Adjust any tactics to suit the new strategy.
Change in resources (cut or increased) If your resources are increased or reduced, your tactics have to change to match. Cuts are unfortunately more common than increases.

  • Cut the least effective tactics.
  • Prioritize tactics which have the most reach and depth  This usually means cutting out the least effective tactics and prioritizing the things that might have the most reach/depth/longevity.

This is usually a relatively quick change to make.

Change in team members If you or your close team members move on to new roles, the execution of the tactics has to change. Each new team member will have new skills and passions. Your action plan needs to adjust to reflect this.

  • Identify skills and passions of new team members.
  • Identify new skill or knowledge gaps which need to be closed.
  • Reallocate tasks to accommodate changes.

Most changes are unanticipated. Yet, they create opportunities to seize as well as challenges to overcome. You can respond quickly to changes to adapt the strategic plan and impress the value of the community upon newcomers.

Do not try to persist with the same strategic plan if many changes have occurred. Adapt quickly and keep going.

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