Four Shadows You Can Avoid on Groundhog Day

Groundhog PhotoToday, Punxsutawney Phil will poke his head out of his burrow to survey the weather near his Pennsylvania home — his 126th prognostication. Will he see his shadow and hibernate for six more wintry weeks? Or will his forecast promise an early spring?

From time to time, you might feel a bit like Phil. You’re convinced that if you look too hard at your business you’ll encounter shadows you’d rather avoid.

Does a deep dive into these areas make you want to retreat?

Communications Strategy
Perhaps you can relate to the quote “If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time.” What’s the state of your strategic communications plan? How will your work contribute to achieving your organization’s and department’s business goals this year? The first quarter is a great time not only to develop one, if needed, but to refine and update an existing plan.

Crisis Planning
At 79 percent, a majority of participants in the 2011 Crisis Preparedness Study released last summer by Burson-Marsteller and Penn Schoen Berland believe they are 12 months away from a crisis. Yet, just slightly over half had a crisis plan in place and of those, half believed their plans have gaps. Does your crisis plan need work? Your company’s reputation depends on it.

Social Media
In 2011, the Altimeter Group reported that 83 percent of 144 enterprise class respondents surveyed had formalized an internal social media policy. Your company may be smaller but a social media policy can protect both your business and employees. Having a policy in place, a process to keep it updated, and ensuring that employees are informed and trained will keep your company as responsive as possible to customers in a digital age. Further, it will diminish the chance of a crisis arising in social media channels that can damage your brand.

Internal communications
Where do employees rank in your communications planning? Are they your first priority?  Would you put your leadership up for a vote like ING Direct’s Arkadi Kuhlman? He’s so committed to employee engagement that he lets staffers decide each year if he deserves to continue as CEO. Effective communication is integral to leadership. Can you claim to be your company’s chief context officer?

Now it’s your turn to expand on the Groundhog Day shadows. What would you add to the list? What can you do this month to keep these shadows from lingering?

Thanks to qmninoc for the cute groundhog photo via Flickr.

You might also enjoy Wrapping Up 2011 with Insights from Three Top Communications Experts.


About creativeconsiderations

Christine Sullivan is a communications strategist with expertise in communications planning, writing and content development, and executive communications. She can be reached at
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