Integrate theory and content learning by developing and completing a comprehensive communication project.
WHAT I learned was that there are many “Comprehensive Communication” problems within our daily work lives. Within the organizational structure, strategic communication is vital to the survival of an organization in times of peace or crisis and especially most beneficial through times of crisis, such as an economic downturn, internal employee turnover, change in top management or other catastrophic event. According to McArthur, (2013), “a plan for strategic communication should be narrowly focused on one particular situation, event or problem. A narrow focus allows the consultant to dig deeply into the organization and use theory to hone specific communicative practices present in the situation” (p.7). Thus, the take-away from McArthur’s assessment of the necessity of a strategic communication plan, that not only are the organization’s mission and values and vision clear and measurable but as well coincide with the intent publicized to the employees, stakeholders and consumers.
Therefore, when putting together a strategic communication plan, it is vital to include eight major sections to the plan, which include purpose, rationale, analysis, market impacts, and suggested strategies. For some organizations items, such as timelines, resource needs or financial impacts are to be addressed as well. For the particular plan devised for my project, the organization that was studied was a non-profit institution of higher education which is state supported, which is my employer, the University of Arkansas Hope Texarkana, located in the state of Arkansas. As a two-year community college, UAHT is supported by many entities including, state government, one of the major university systems in the state and the local community. So, UAHT is in a unique position in which they are “fish-bowled” and critiqued from many sides, which make devising a strategic plan a tedious process and a two-prong approach. The following are the linked documents containing the two separate strategic plans for the University of Arkansas System and UAHT, with that plan being simply called ” Strategic GPS”. Below are the linked strategic plans which are highlighted within the strategic communication plan.
SO WHAT did I learn from preparing the strategic communication plan? The major challenge that I encountered was the process of projecting my own perceptions of the Univeristy System’s and UAHT’s strategy in regards to the policies and procedures that I followed as an individual. Not once did I feel that either entities had anything to hide. Instead, I gained a new appreciation of the time and energy that was devoted to the plans in an effort to meet and serve the people of Arkansas and the local communities through the service of delivering an education. The other valuable experience I gained was the importance of preparing a strategic plan and the opportunity to explore the market impacts and showcase the needs of the public that is served by these entities.
NOW WHAT did I learn from this entire experience? From the coursework to the capstone courses, the process revealed that is was merely a puzzle and each piece had to fit together and would fall in place as the project and program progressed. What I had expected to learn how important strategic communication is to my organization and how I could contribute to a change within the organizational flow of information. However, the major revelation from the beginning to the completion of this plan, is that strategic communication is central to the development of and vital to the continous work toward the goals, objectives and the mission of the strategic plan for the organization. As a result, I will now plan a role within the development of the goals and objectives of the strategic plan through my work on the Division Strategic Plan for Business, Technology and Education, which my Dean, colleagues and I will begin work on in September 2017.