A tale of two communicators: what happens when a "strategist" marries a "tactician"--literally?

Author:Crescenzo, Steve
Position:Creative communication - Christopher and Sally Steven

Note: This is the final installment in our series on the evolving role of the modern communicator. Here, Steve Crescenzo introduces to you the model for the future of communication: the Creative Strategist.

Pull up a chair and pour yourself a drink, for I have a story to tell you. It's a story that starts in the past and finishes in the future. And it has important lessons for communicators everywhere as they try to redefine their role in the modern organization.

It's a tale of two communicators, both very good at what they do, and both abject failures in their jobs. "How can that be?" you ask. "How can two people excel at what they do, yet fail at their jobs?"

Easy: They may be good at what they do, but they aren't doing the right things.

Our first communicator is Timmy the Tactician. Timmy is absolutely brilliant when it comes to embracing new communication tools. He is an excellent writer. He has a voice for radio and an eye for video. He is an early adopter of all things social media, and he oozes creativity from every pore.

Timmy loves his channels--oh, does Timmy love his channels! He creates laugh-out-loud corporate videos. Employees actually listen to his podcasts--at home, after work, because they're so entertaining. He writes a blog on the company's intranet and it's loaded with personality, generating hundreds of comments.

So why is Timmy the Tactician a failure? Because nothing he does is tied to the goals of the business, and he doesn't work from a communication plan. Meaning that he doesn't do research to uncover the business objectives he should be focusing on, he doesn't develop communication goals and messages based on those objectives, he doesn't develop content designed to deliver those messages and achieve those goals, and he doesn't measure anything he does.

Timmy just communicates. He does it very well. If Timmy's only job were to entertain the workforce, he'd be a huge success.

But Timmy's job is to help the organization succeed. His job is to communicate with a strategic purpose, educate and motivate employees, and align their behavior with company priorities. And Timmy doesn't do any of that.

Now let's meet Sally the Strategist.

Sally is the exact opposite of Timmy. Sally is the most strategic communicator you've ever seen. Her communication plan is bigger than the King James Bible. Her matrixes have matrixes. She lives and dies by the spreadsheet. She does executive interviews every month to determine what...

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