Planners. What are we, anyway? Often, our roles get summed up pretty briefly. We’re the strategists. Or, we’re the researchers. Or the ones creating the customer journeys. And while that’s true, what we do is a lot more than that. I love that planning is made up of so many interesting roles. Here are some of our “secret lives” – the parts of our job you might not realize we do!

We’re sleuths. We’re on the hunt for unexpected connections. We start with the stats and observations to tell us what people say and do. But we then take it a step further because we like to know the “why” behind it all. That comes to life through the insight.

We’re both scientists and artists. Developing strategy isn’t just about researching facts and figures; it’s about the creation of an informed opinion about how to win. We have to take imaginative leaps to come up with strategies that will truly be powerful and impactful. Part of our job is dissecting all the information, figuring out what matters and why, and then articulating the story simply while still making it feel inspiring and actionable.

Developing strategy isn’t just about researching facts and figures; it’s about the creation of an informed opinion about how to win.

We’re active listeners. The more day-to-day conversations we’re a part of, the more meaningful impact we can have on the business. We’re constantly listening for possible connections between what appears to be disparate things. It’s the subtleties that often lead to the juicy opportunities.

We’re conductors. As planners, we always step back to see the big picture, ensuring that all of the important roles are working in unison, that the right ones are coming in at the right time, and that it all flows together to create something magnificent.

We’re jacks — and jills — of all trades. Strategy is extremely challenging, as it demands knowledge in a lot of areas such as research, reporting, writing, data analysis, trend watching, psychology, and more. You have to quickly shift from one thing to another … which is probably why I enjoy it so much!