Email is Where Your Strategy Goes to Die

Corey Burns Coaching, Communication, Corey Burns, Corporate America, Email, Influence, Innovation, Leadership, Networking, Uncategorized

In my last article, Turn Your Talent Failures into Wins – Part 1, we dove into how our best intentions of planning for the New Year go just as well as our plan for using our gym memberships – they don’t. I know, it sounds almost too simple but the fact is that effectively planning is half the battle to having a killer talent strategy. The other key factor comes down to effective communication and adoption.

Piece of cake; blast off a quick email and you’re on auto pilot – I wish. Unfortunately, email is where your strategic plan goes to die, and once it’s dead, good luck reviving it. In the last article, we talk about 6 common road blocks that I’ve encountered, and for the sake of this article, I’m focusing in on two of them:

  • Planning: Your strategy is not an email nor is email how you communicate a plan. The plan is the roadmap of your strategy, and without it, the strategy isn’t a strategy.
    • “No battle was ever won according to plan, but no battle was ever won without one.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower
  • Being a Lone Ranger: Whatever you do, don’t create a strategy without the input of your stakeholders! Once stakeholders have skin in the game, they will make your goals their own.
    • “People support a world they help create.” – Dale Carnegie

Before I go any further, I have nothing against email! The issue is when there’s a robust program and email becomes the sole platform in which the plan is communicated, tracked, and where it ultimately lives.

The way you go about executing the communication and keeping your goals at the forefront of your stakeholders’ minds is crucial. Now that you have carefully planned out your strategy, focus on these few next steps:

  1. Timing
    • Timing is everything! Make sure you are aware of other initiatives that may overshadow the roll out of your programs.
  2. Be Present
    • Getting in front of your audience is extremely important. By making this initiative important to you helps others see it as being important to them. Find time to join their divisional leadership or staff meetings to get their undivided attention. Remember, don’t be a lone ranger!
  3. Status Updates
    • Meetings are not usually a great time for status updates, in my opinion. I much rather provide status reports and meet to discuss next stages or gain feedback on progress.
  4. Visuals – Project Timeline or MindMapping
    • Most leaders don’t like sifting through pages and pages of data. Providing a simple one page update is often more impactful, but it requires you to differentiate what is a priority to share and what isn’t… more is less.


To help quickly capture everyone’s attention in a world when time is abysmal, less is better. For each specific initiative, utilize production and timeline schedules as a visual along with specific KPI’s.

Below you will see an actual timeline that was created in December 2017 to begin laying out the transition for a software that is automating the delivery of our training & onboarding initiatives. For this specific initiative, each division within the organization is a stakeholder and this allows for everyone to understand expectations and timing. For each status meeting, this timeline is updated to reflect changes and updates to the original plan.

By utilizing a visual timeline, we are able to tackle the messaging of our communication in a simple one page document. This covered the: Why, How, Timeframe, and Performance Indicators.

Next time you have a killer strategy, go the extra mile and get out of the email comfort zone!