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Transcript: Clarify your Purpose


Hi there, welcome back.

In this short video, I want to introduce to you the first part of the first step of our So What Strategy and that is clarifying our purpose, the first part of Design your Strategy. Now, when we're doing this, there's actually just one simple step to take. It's deceptively simple, though. We need to complete this single sentence. As a result of this communication, I want my audience to know, think or do what? What outcome do you want from this piece of communication?

So let's break that up into parts and look, first of all at this communication and then look at the other two elements that I want to analyze, my audience and the sort of response we might want. So firstly, this communication, let's have a look at it. So there are two things to think about here. What kind of communication will we use and which one are we going to focus on for today's story, we need to get very precise here. That's where the value is, by being precise on all of these three elements, our messages are going to land so much better than if we don't. Let me show you by example. So here's an early draft of a purpose that I was working on with a client earlier this week. So let me read it to you and then let's break it apart. So as a result of this PowerPoint, I want the executive team to fully comprehend the complexity and volume of the work that the stakeholder engagement and communications team does and agreed ongoing additional resources. And that's a very long sentence, which is first of all, an alarm bell. But if we look at, if we look at the first part that I'd like to really challenge here, they're saying they need a PowerPoint. And when I think about the number of people they want to hire, it doesn't say here, but we'll get to it shortly. It's only two people and I don't really think they need a massive PowerPoint for it. I think that's disproportionate. And I'm quite confident actually, that they'll be able to get away with a one pager and a conversation. They don't need a lengthy PowerPoint. And this will be an outcome that you'll see more and more as you start working with our material, that you can actually save a lot of time by being much simpler in the deliverables that you use to communicate with even quite senior stakeholders. So firstly, challenge this communication, what sort of communication do you really need?

Now let's look at the second part. My audience. Now at this stage, we're going to be fairly broad and a bit general. We can't teach you two things in parallel. So we're choosing to focus on purpose first, then we got to look at audience over the coming few videos. And you'll see that in your working process, and you'll see this play out in the examples that we've got as we work through the program. When you see me or a recording of me working with people on their stories, you'll see that we iterate in and out. But for the sake of learning, I need to introduce these points to you step by step. So think broadly about the audience at this stage. So you can finish the sentence in draft form, and then iterate back when you've got a bit more time and a bit more knowledge, actually. So coming back to this particular early draft, we've now, we've modified that PowerPoint, and we've changed it to become a conversation supported by a one pager. And we're suggesting we need to go to the executive team. Now, as I mentioned earlier, we only need two new people. We need resourcing for that. I'm not sure you need to go to the executive team for that. You might in your organization, you might, but in this case, knowing them as I do, I actually don't think they need to. I think they need to go to Peter the CEO, and have a conversation with him and say, this is what we need and here's why. And most likely, he'll be able to say yes or no. Now if he then says, I need you to take this to the executive team, perhaps you'll need to do that. But in this case, I'm pretty confident that the CEO will do the job so we're going to go with that for now.

Now, when we take it a step further, we're saying, okay, we're taking this one pager to the CEO, and how do we want the CEO to respond? What do we want Peter to know, think or do? Now in the general sense, there's a range of different things we might want our audience to do. Here are six examples. We might want them to agree their progress is satisfactory, support us as we progress to the next phase, endorse an investment recommendation, sufficiently understand risks to be involved in a decision, support to change the way we're solving a problem or understand or sorry, rather do what I need them to do, particularly if it's people in your team. So there's a range of things we might want them to do. Now, in this case, we've got something here that we want Peter to do, we want him to agree to some ongoing funding. I don't think the ask is specific enough yet, though.

So if we have a look at this here, in the early draft, we're saying that the stakeholder engagement team and comms team wants ongoing additional resources. That's true, but it's very general, I think we need to be much more specific than that. We don't just need ongoing additional resources, we need Peter to provide funding for two extra communication team members. So we don't just want him to understand and comprehend the complexity in the volume. That's a step on that journey. We want to go to the end point that we can reasonably achieve with this piece of communication. And that in itself, is a really important point. Sometimes we need to step back and have multiple pieces of communication to get what we want. Now in this sitting, if Peter says, actually, I think we're going to need to go to the executive team with that. You're going to need another piece of communication. But by narrowing down on Peter and focusing on him, and focusing specifically on the exact ask that we're putting forward, we've got a much better chance of getting what we want. Because we're not being vague, we're not being loose and we've got something very specific to craft our story around.

So when you go to test your own purpose, you can see how I've played through that example there, getting very precise about this communication, about my audience and then also about the ask, about the thing that I'm wanting from them. But in doing that, I'm making sure three things are in place. Firstly, I've got a single short sentence that's not compounded. That example that I had before, when I was saying, understand and then agree to funding, that's a compound sentence. It's got steps in it. I just want that endpoint. So it's a single short sentence. Secondly, it needs to be achievable with this specific piece of communication we are preparing. We don't want something that's so big, that actually, we're not going to get the outcome we want. We want to look very precisely at what's in front of us and what we can achieve with this particular piece of communication.

And then lastly, we need to make sure that it delivers substantial value to our organization. And I do raise that there because I think everything we should we do should add value, but also to highlight a point about updates. Be very careful when you think your purpose should be, I want to update my audience. I want you to go deeper than that. Or to ask yourself, why do I want to update my audience? And potentially keep asking that question until you get to something specific. Now if we roll back and have a look at those examples I showed you before of the possible sorts of purposes that you might have, the very first one says agree that my progress is satisfactory. Now in relation to that one, if your project is on track, that is what you're looking for, you're looking for your audience to agree the approaches, your progress is satisfactory. And if it's a senior leader in a hurry, and they hear that, they will give you the big thumbs up and say, Thank you, don't tell me anything more. I trust you. That's great. Now, if however, things have changed, you'll have all sorts of other things that you're actually asking for in that update. So be very wary of updates and focus on what you really want from that discussion.

So there we are, a single sentence that you need to be really clear about and a simple test that you can use here to make sure that your purpose is absolutely bang on and your communication lands in the way it should. So I'm going to encourage you now to swim up and down like a porpoise. Going through the process, that Design your Strategy process that we're going to talk through in the coming videos, until you really feel very confident that you've got it right. Alright. Thanks so much and I look forward to seeing you in the next video. Bye for now.