Toy Story 4: A Lesson in Moving On

I recently enjoyed the latest chapter in the incredibly imaginative and heartwarming story that is the Toy Story saga – Toy Story 4. I don’t think it’s a major spoiler to reveal that Woody, voiced by Tom Hanks, is feeling a little lost and maybe not so useful anymore. Woody is no longer the confident leader in Bonnie’s world of imaginative play. No longer the head “sheriff in town” so to speak. Woody is concerned about what future holds for him and faces tough choices on the road to find success and happiness.

For me, the film brought into view the concept of letting go and knowing when it’s right to do so. That lesson is easily applied to a communications strategy. Too often organizations can hold onto a program, event, approach, communications tactic or tool because “it’s what we’ve always done it.” It can be challenging for leaders to take a step back and objectively assess how they are communicating and, more importantly, why they are doing it that way. To effectively audit a communications program a critical first step, I assert, is to determine what efforts directly tie back to meeting business objectives and which are still in place simply because they exist, are well funded or have gained “favored nation” status.

While a communications strategy should always be tethered back to business goals, the process and tools one uses to get there could, and should, change. After all, you aren’t reading this blog on a Blackberry.

As professional communicators, we challenge ourselves and our clients to resist the status quo and think creatively about how to adapt and enhance their communications programs to meet changing dynamics of the marketplace, their key audiences and their organizations.

By continuing to evaluate strategies and tactics and develop and implement new ones as necessary, organizations put themselves in the best position possible to take their company’s communications efforts “to infinity and beyond!”