Leadership is difficult and when leaders want to steer their followers in a new direction or significantly change culture or processes, it requires careful thought. This point was driven home for me last week when I was working with a relatively new CEO who needs to chart the future course for her organization.

As the “new gal”, it’s important to take time to assess the current situation, additionally, you need to quickly determine who is giving you the true lay of the land and who is merely jockeying for position. But in the end, it is the assimilation of that information into a position or direction that requires serious contemplation time.

There are many processes to use to articulate and crystallize your thinking. Virtually all of them have these common elements: values, objectives, and measureable milestones. In communications strategies, audience understanding is fundamental. For in strategic communications your goal is to change behaviour.

The goal of strategic communication is to change behaviour. That requires audience intelligence. Click To Tweet

To do that, you must first be very clear about whose behaviour you want to change, assess their beliefs/current position on the situation and determine what information or incentives they may need to change those beliefs and behaviours.

Whether your audience is one or several  thousands, an understanding who they are and what they need is a sure fire way to help you meet your communications objectives.

The best of the best are able to turn that “audience intelligence” into effective approaches to communicate and effect change.