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Keep Your Eye on the Prize

We’ve all heard the expression to keep our eye on the prize. We know intuitively that it means to stay focused on our end goals. But what if you’re not sure what those goals are? What if you’re not confident you know where you’re going?

These questions are important when beginning almost any new project whether it’s personal or professional, whether it’s for your job or your home. What exactly is the prize? How will you know when you’ve won it?

These are the challenges I like to tackle as a communications planner. I like to try to figure out what the problem is and the solution; what the problem is and the prize. Almost any way we dissect it, the prize is always the most important piece to the puzzle.

To figure out what the prize is, it’s important to ask questions, listen and make sure you understand what the problem you’re trying to solve is.

What really is the prize? Oftentimes, what we might think it is in the beginning is not what it is once we’ve thoroughly analyzed the problem, or once we have asked the person whose opinion really counts. Unfortunately, sometimes the prize we want may not be the same one the boss wants and that opinion is most important.

Who’s the most important group we need to influence to achieve our prize? Narrowing that group of people into a small subset means we can focus communication in one area. We aren’t ignoring the rest of the world, just targeting one group a little harder.

What does the prize look like? This is an important analysis because it helps define the strategies and tactics. It also often causes a revision of the program objectives if the prize is very different than first thought. This is where it’s especially important to make sure the right person is deciding on the prize too.

What are the obstacles in the way of that prize? Who or what is in the way of success? It’s important to look at the competition and what might keep us from getting the prize.

Once these questions have been asked and answers developed, a plan can be developed to get to the prize. Then it’s time to keep your eye on the prize.

If I can help you figure out your prize, please let me know.

 

By | 2017-04-20T04:42:50+00:00 February 2nd, 2016|Strategic Communications Planning/Counsel|0 Comments

About the Author:

Mary Deming Barber, APR, Fellow PRSA, runs a strategic communications consultancy where she helps clients understand how to integrate new media into traditional communication programs. Mary has counseled clients in Tacoma, Anchorage, San Francisco, Oregon, and Colorado for nearly 40 years working with a variety of food organizations, several agencies, and as a key team member on two successful US Senate campaigns. 


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