Assignment 3: Strategy Proposal (70 points)
You have learned how to strategize communication in order to address different channels, contexts, audiences, and cultures to effect a change. For this assignment, you will need to utilize your understanding of these and think through how strategic communication occurs at different levels in an organization. In this assignment, you will create a proposal that outlines your strategy as a consultant for resolving a particular business communication problem involving IS (Cybersecurity). Hence, you will need to use your comprehensive understanding of communication to write a memo wherein you propose your ideas on how to best tackle the problem presented in the scenario.
The scenario below involves the need for implementing a stronger cybersecurity system in a company that has local (workfloor) and global (colleagues with different cultural backgrounds working across the globe) contexts. You will write up a strategy where you develop a description of a timeline of actions to address different stakeholders through particular sequence of communication attempts (e.g. face-to-face conversation, email, video, etc.) to remedy the problem.
Below, read the scenario carefully to get a sense of the stakeholders and the context for communication. Then, draft up your strategy proposal, by applying the elements you have read about in the Baker & Baker and Meyer books.
Scenario: The case of cybersecurity at GlobalSys company
You are an outside cybersecurity compliance officer working for Cybersecurity Solutions. You are tasked with working for a US-based client (Globalsys) to get its people on board with improving cybersecurity. GlobalSys is a US-headquartered accounting company contractor that processes payments for various companies across the globe, and GlobalSys has facilities across the globe in China, and India. You have received an email as a contractor from Roger Brooks (the CEO for GlobalSys) who says he has minimal awareness of the cybersecurity implementation but knows it needs improving. The situation, as he explains it: People are using their passwords to access their work account through mobile devices (phones, laptops, tablets) that are not work-authorized. You know this is a case of Shadow IT, but Roger seems to not be aware of this concept, while Chief Information Officer (CIO) Kanika (who deals with implementing IT policies for Globalsys) is aware. In addition, you found out that employees do not change their passwords or adhere to password security protocols as they should despite multiple requests by the system administrator (and they are not remotely aware of Shadow IT as a concept). The employees of GlobalSys are also concerned about security, but need educating a bit. Some employees say that since they can’t “see” evidence of them being hacked, the “old ways” of doing things are fine. As a result, GlobalSys now faces many security breaches of their sensitive data with potential lawsuits in the horizon. You have visited GlobalSys and spoken to Roger and his employees. In addition, you have talked with the Kanika, and system administrator Zhang Wei (who has flagged the issue with unauthorized device use with Kanika), about the situation. Roger has asked you to develop a strategy to address this
problem so that employees practice good cybersecurity protocols and GlobalSys is not liable to hacks.
Your task: in the guise of being a cybersecurity consultant for Cybersecurity Solutions addressing their superiors, write a strategy proposal memo where you discuss your strategy to address the situation at Globalsys where you identify the vulnerabilities, the stakeholders that you need to talk to and in what order using which communication channels (email, face-to-face conversation, etc). Also address different levels of hierarchy/company rank, culture, and their technical understanding that require you to modify and translate your message. Do NOT make up extra stuff on the client; instead, use what is described in the scenario above.
Assignment: Writing the Strategy Proposal
The strategy proposal is a memo where you take on the guise of an IT consultant, writing to your employer Cybersecurity Solutions (CS), to get approval from them on your proposed campaign as a reasonable course of action for the client. Make sure to address how you intend to persuade and implement the change at GlobalSys. Consider that different media are useful here to address different contexts, audiences, and cultures, and that differences in rank also play a role here (addressing a CEO is different than addressing IT professionals, etc.).
In the proposal, you should cover your campaign from idea to implementation, and address audience considerations from CEO to ground floor employee, from beginning to end. The main goal of the strategy proposal is to address how you think this situation needs to be addressed, and which of the stakeholders, medium channels and intercultural concepts need to be applied and in what order to most effectively implement the change.
The internal proposal to Cybersecurity solutions should have the following sections:
Memo header – address to Cybersecurity Solutions.
Introduction – use the opening moves (subject, purpose, main points, forecast structure of memo)
Problem/Needs Statement - describe the scenario as best as you can by framing the problem, and by giving a clear statement of the needs of the company, and briefly, what you see as causes and effects of the problem if not addressed. Also, identify the stakeholders, by identifying the people who are directly or indirectly impacted by the problem. Each element (problem, needs, cause-effect analysis, stakeholders) should be about 1 paragraph. Tentative solution – briefly describe your tentative campaign solution that will let you address the issue in broad brushstrokes. The goal here is to have your reader understand your plan of attack briefly before going into detail in the next section.
Timeline and Implementation plan – this is the largest section of your proposal, and is a detailed chronological account of actions as to what you will do, who you will communicate with, and in which order, and how you are communicating through specific genres. Please incorporate persuasion strategies and mention specific genres of communication (e.g. face-to-face, email, flyer, video, etc) and why these work as channels in this case. At the end, please include a visual of the timeline (see .pptx for timeline creation) where you list these actions in a relatively streamlined format (see figure 1).
Figure 1: sample timeline
Justification – provide a brief 1 paragraph justification as to why your solution is the best and why it is the most effective, keeping in mind that Cybersecurity Solutions personnel will be reading your proposal.
Conclusion – thank the reader, provide contact info (email: firstname.lastname@example.org, phone:123-456-7890), and use call-to-action for the reader (e.g. welcome them to contact you).
In following up on your work throughout the semester, you will have learned that communication can include obvious genres, such as reports or email, but also may include other, less obvious activities, such as organizing meetings, presenting something to someone, and one-on-one conversations with colleagues. In addition, you will have learned about intercultural and work-place considerations that come into play in various business contexts and how to respond to these using various communication strategies. This assignment asks you to expand upon this work and think through, and implement your understanding of these concepts as an IS professional in a tightly written proposal of 2-3 pages.
Format and grading
The proposal you produce should follow memo format, as shown in this document, and be about 2 pages (make sure you have all the important information in the document and it is crisply written- if needed, you can go over a page). This requires you streamline your ideas and present strong ideas in about 2-3 pages. Again, structure your information with topic sentences and coherent paragraphs. Grammar and usage are important. Be sure to have others proofread what you have written, and use resources such as the CMU Writing Center, if needed.
Grading will be based on:
-Author successfully uses proposal format as outlined above to write in a business context to employer about a client.
-Author displays strong quality of ideas that address the different business contexts, audiences, channel/medium characteristics, cultural contexts in the scenario, and utilizes these to successfully address different layers of an organization (from CEO to groundfloor) to effect change in a strategic, well-though out manner.
-Author structures information, introduction has agenda that outlines and conveys big idea, sections have logical flow of ideas between paragraphs, author creates brain-friendly topic
sentences before discussing ideas in more detail, paragraphs use CLOUD (Coherent, Length, Organization, Unified, and Developed) and are breathing-length.
-Author is persuasive in using different appeals to argue for a particular course of action in IT in their proposal in a relatively short format (2-3 pages)