If you are not reviewing your communication strategy or in the process of planning one before 2017, then you are lining up to be fired.
public relations with Lenox Mhlanga
Sorry to be blunt but you are setting yourself up for failure next year. With an approach best described as hit and miss, or at worst, a host of firefighting tactics, it’s a miracle you are still hired.
It’s either that or you are being allowed to tread water before ultimately drowning for lack of impact to the bottom line.
As people prepare for the festive break, the last thing that you should be doing — and your corporate life depends on it — is to review your strategy. The New Year is not as far as you might think.
A strategy saves you the blushes at planning meetings, as well as going a long way in justifying why you should remain on the pay sheet.
And it’s not as if its rocket science. You must have heard the adage “failing to plan is planning to fail”. It does not get simpler than that. If you can list, then you can plan!
All those fantastic ideas that are floating around in your head are of no use to anyone until they are put on paper, or screen. They are then given shape and form through a scientific process that will ensure they can be executed to produce results.
Yes, results, the perennial curse of a PR practitioner who is under pressure to prove his worth in the organisation. I should admit that I am among those who used to moan that it was difficult to measure something that one couldn’t touch. How does one measure perception or emotions for that matter?
Well, the world has moved on since then. Data is no longer the mathematical conundrum that it was trumped up to be. It has become the form and substance of evaluation and is there for the taking.
Waving a fist full of figures and presenting those colourful graphs at an executive meeting will earn you kudos. Even when they make no sense at all. The idea is to be strategic and resourceful to the team.
Now, back to why you exist as a communication practitioner. It’s because you are being more than useful to the organisation.
You are the glue that holds an entity together because by nature, organisations communicate in Morse code that requires deciphering and sharing with all stakeholders.
Having a strategy is telling your colleagues that you are not employed to be the fire brigade. Placing a strategy on the table is telling them that not only are you proactive, you are capable of being productive and are indispensable. A prophet of sorts that can be held to account as well.
During the early days of my career I was rendered rudderless for lack of a strategy. Lest I be sued by my former employers for theft by false pretences, I should state that I still pulled off some spectacular PR stunts. Good enough to prove my worth in the company.
But that was not ideal. Any communicator can admit that smoke and mirrors have an incredibly short shelf life. One can be exposed by a crisis that could strip the organisation of any semblance of dignity.
It is the real value that you bring to the table (and the jargon) that will make you belong. Without any pretence, you possess the knowledge that your colleagues need to make informed decisions.
Impact that leaves a legacy that lingers long after you are gone. The kind that makes your former employers regret why they let you go. A strategy leaves your aura. It is the template that should be adopted easily by your successor.
While you are pondering over the kind of communication strategy you are planning to share with your colleagues, know that it is just the beginning. The proof of the pudding is in the eating.
Lenox Mhlanga is a communication specialist who knows the value of strategy having worked with the World Bank. He is an associate consultant with Magna Carta, a PR agency that specialises in reputation management. He shares his knowledge and experience with media students at the National University of Science and Technology as a part-time lecturer. Contact him on +263 772400 656 and email: email@example.com